Dennis Oglesby
1947 - 2016
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Dennie Patrick "Pat" Oglesby
July 28, 1947 - December 15, 2016
"It's October, and normally I would be in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone Park with my spotting scope probing the mountainsides for a glimpse of wolves and grizzlies - a road trip I've looked forward to each April and October. But this year I'm preparing for a journey to uncharted waters - not something on my bucket list, but nonetheless a journey I will soon embark upon. Though difficult, the rewards of this journey have been infinite. I've swirled in the unpredictable back eddies of chemo for three years, and I'm ready to drift into home waters. Family, and friends have leant support, faith, good thoughts, prayers, and love, unconditionally and unbidden. My positive outlook and gratitude for life on this planet gave me far more years than a stage-four diagnosis warranted. Enormous gratitude to Drs. Emmons and Frank and the extraordinary medical staff at St. Mary's Oncology Center, to Dr. Nutting at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, CO; and to the caring, and dedicated team at HopeWest Hospice. Without all their treatment, support, and loving care this three-year extension would not have been possible.
I was born Dennis Patrick Oglesby on July 28, 1947, in Paonia, CO, the first child of Edsel and Agnes Keenan Oglesby. The ensuing ten years welcomed three more children: Linda, Joe, and Kathleen. We lived the ranch life on Clear Fork in Crawford, CO until I was four when we moved to the Stirrup Bar Ranch in Maher, CO where I lived until age 18. Much of our life centered on 4-H activities; raising horses and cows taught us patience and responsibility and cemented our family. I was called Dennis, but after a few days in first grade, I changed my name to "Pat" to avoid association with "Dennis the Menace". But mostly I wanted to follow in the sturdy boots of my Grandad "Pat". Patrick Francis Keenan emigrated from Ireland, and I remember him as a hulking man who loved the ranch life; I was heavily influenced by "Pa" and his old-time cowboy ways.
In 1962 when the dams were built in Paonia and Crawford, I met classmate, Carol Sortland, whose father was a supervisor on the dam construction projects. The Sortlands embraced the Crawford area, where they built a home after years on the construction circuit. Crawford high schoolers were transferred to Paonia and in 1965 Carol and I graduated and took separate paths to "sow our wild oats". I attended Western State College in Gunnison, worked on microwave towers around the country, and eventually settled in Grand Junction where I was employed by Grand Valley Power for 40 years, retiring as the Operations Manager in 2011.
In the early 1970s Carol and I became reacquainted, fell in love and married on August 24, 1974. Our life together was full. We loved fiercely, fought occasionally, stuck by and defended each other through the seasons of change. Though we had no children, we "adopted" Taila Oulton, as our "grand" daughter. She's the wildflower who has enriched our lives, and… she catches BIG fish!
I'll get to fishing in a minute, but I want to mention that in my spare time, during the winter and shoulder seasons (to avoid encounters with 'rattlers…), we roamed the desserts scouting for Native American rock art; supporting the protective work of the Colorado Archaeological Society. I've studied the history and life of Colorado and the West with particular interest in the Gunnison Valley, its allure and significant characters. Of special interest are tales, facts, and early films of the "Gunnison Navy", and excursions on the Gunnison River prior to construction of the dams. Photography and writing were also avid pursuits.
I was a fly fisher from an early age, angling the hallowed waters of the Gunnison River with my father in the days before the dams were built, when the river was known as a world-class fishery. Carol embraced my passion for fly fishing, and the hours morphed into 42 years pursuing trout, various saltwater species and "lowly" carp and whitefish. We coveted our time outdoors on the streams, rivers, and back eddies of the Rocky Mountains and in up-state New York. I endured subfreezing winter temperatures on the Taylor and Frying Pan Rivers, popping ice off the guides of my fly rod just because once in a while I'd "hook a hog"... We waded and "poled" the saltwater flats of Baha and Casa Blanca, Mexico and Cape Santa Maria in the Bahamas - despite tropical storms, hurricanes and searing sunburns. Fishing was our passion; as lifetime members of Trout Unlimited and The International Federation of Fly Fishers, we enjoyed hundreds of volunteer hours protecting, enhancing and restoring coldwater fisheries. We received numerous conservation awards; the one we covet is the prestigious "Silver Trout" award, Colorado Trout Unlimited's highest honor extended for coldwater conservation activity in Colorado. We are the only couple to have received the award. Fly Fishing has extended our "family" with friends around the world. My spirit is full with gratitude, love and passion.
My father, Edsel Oglesby, predeceased me in 1978. Survivors include my wife, Carol Oglesby of Grand Junction, CO; my mother, Agnes Oglesby of Eckert, CO; sister, Linda Todd and her husband, Jere, of Chiapas, Mexico; brother, Joe Oglesby of Crawford, CO; sister, Kathleen Starr of Hotchkiss, CO; uncles, Ray Keenan of Grand Junction, CO and Robert Keenan of Montrose, CO; "grand" daughter, Taila Oulton of Bozeman, MT, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
As I transition from this lifetime, to my cherished family and friends, I say, "Thanks, I love you, and farewell." Keep the winds at your back, and one day we will meet at the eternal headwaters.
Contributions, in my memory, may be sent to HopeWest Hospice, 3090B N. 12th St., Grand Junction, CO 81506; or Colorado Trout Unlimited Youth Education, 1536 Wynkoop Street, Suite 320, Denver, CO 80202. To make online memorial contributions, contact CTU at and click the "Ways to Give" tab."
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date.
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Published in The Daily Sentinel on Dec. 21, 2016.
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Memories & Condolences
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20 entries
January 25, 2017
To the family of Pat
I would like to express my thoughts and prayers to you during this time of sorrow. I have known Pat for many years thru the Rural Electric Coops. I had the honor of knowing and serving with Pat on the Mesa Hotline School Board for many years. He was a very clam person and a person you could always depend on for any task associated with the school. I knew a lot of Pat's hobbies and desires but after reading his obituary I wish I had been able to know more about him as his life was one filled with true country living. Carol my prayers are with you and the family. My memories of Pat will live on. Jim Clare (Monte Vista , CO)
January 3, 2017
Dear Carol, I am so sorry for your loss, a loss shared by many but not felt as keenly as you. Pat was such a good friend to my Dad, John, I know that he truly treasured his friendship and companionship and always spoke so highly of you both. I admired the way Pat never wanted to discuss his illness, just fishing, and conservation, and photography. With warmest sympathy, Melissa and Dave.
Melissa Trammell
December 27, 2016
A wonderful and inspiring obituary depicting the spirit of Pat. We can all learn from how he lived his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat's entire family.
Tom Keenan and Family
Tom Keenan
December 25, 2016
Together in Price Utah as Pat picked books for vets
Pat's own recount of his life shows a humble man beautifully showing us the true spirit of the man we knew and loved . Many of us know the between the lines , a man who us how to live , how to fight for life and to die with passion and love for his fellow man.No man ever loved a women more than he cherised Carol ! Amen ! My life is better just knowing him ! One last thought , I know what is like to be Dennis the menace ! Its hard to change a last name
Jack Dennis
December 23, 2016
Hi Carol, I have already sent you a private message, but wanted to post here as well. My first memories of you and Pat are at the Federation of Fly Fishers conclave. I am not sure which one, but know it was several years ago. That year you became known as "Woman of the Year" and that, you truly were. From that first initial meeting, a true, even if we only met annually friendship developed. We always looked forward to our visits with you. To Walter, Laura and I you and Pat were each and every year "People of the Year". A highlight of our trips to whichever conclave/fishing fair was having the opportunity to spend time with the two of you. We relished the encounters, sometimes over a beverage in a lounge, sitting with you at the President's Banquet, a farewell breakfast after the Spokane Fair and our most recent visit, enjoying a lunch at the Pickle Barrel in Livingston. Pat will forever be in our memories as the Conclave photographer. Throughout the event, often Pat would be seen on the sidelines of classes, workshops, etc. snapping memories for us all. His skill has been repeatedly demonstrated in the FFF magazine and before the digital days, I would scour the images to see which photos were by "Pat Oglesby". Of significance is Pat's kindness and generosity at taking our daughter, Laura, under his wing. Realizing that she had a developing interest in photography, he took her several times with him to be his photography assistant and even allowed her the responsibility of taking photos of events at a couple of the fairs. I am not sure if Pat knew how much this kind gesture meant to all of us. Laura talked about this for years and when I told her about Pat's passing, she remembered him from the times spent as his assistant. I always will remember how joyful we were to see you and Pat at each conclave. His, and your kindness and genuine nature, warmed our hearts and made us feel part of a larger family of anglers. Walter always says that fly fishing people in the FFF are the nicest people and when we think of you two, that is an absolute truth. We will miss seeing Pat at future fairs as it will not seem the same without him. However, we look forward to the idea of continuing to see Carol there. We will miss Pat terribly, but hope that we can do something to help you Carol feel some relief from your hurt and pain. I know you are a strong person, Carol, and can only imagine the strength you are drawing at this difficult and challenging time. Please do not hesitate to call on us at any time that you need a reprieve, need to talk or just need a reminder that you are, and always will be, Women of the Year in our minds. Lots of love from the Simbirskis.
Susan Simbirski
December 22, 2016
Dear Carol. I was so sorry to hear of Pat's passing. My heart and prayers are with you in the difficult days you are facing. Love, Connie Howell
December 22, 2016
Great guy Pat. Always gentle and helpful. A person anyone was fortunate to know. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten, in the fly fishing community, far and wide.
Tom Whiting
December 22, 2016
What a wonderful friend you were to so many people. I know you are fly fishing and keeping an eye on Carol. Rest in peace friend.
Linda Ewing
December 22, 2016
Pat will be missed by everyone that knew him. A great man, a great couple. Carol, take care of yourself. Love to you and your family.
Betty Oglesby
December 22, 2016
Pat was a gentleman of the first order. I want to stress the "gentle" part of that statement. We never spent much time together but he was always so interesting to visit with. Carol, you have some difficult days ahead of you and I know from experience they will not come easy. I still catch myself listening for Chet in the house but he's not here anymore. He's in the river swimming with the trout that he loved so much. I wish you peace. Contentment will be a time coming.
Pat Smith
December 22, 2016
You were a blessing to this earth. I'll see you on the other side.
Dawn Davidson
December 22, 2016
Pat you will be missed by everyone who ever met you.
December 22, 2016
Pat always had a way with words. What a hoot to be around. A character of his own. A very knowledgeable person, especially the history and area around Gunnison, CO. I will miss him and the history he shared with everybody. Hats off to you Carol.
Hank Le Valley
December 22, 2016
To Turquoise waters!
Love you Pat. You and Carol gave us inspiration as a couple to fish, explore and give back to the environment, especially Colorado that is dear to us both. Missing the old soul that gave us the light.
Harriet Matthews
December 22, 2016
I never realized how much Pat and I had in common. We were born a week apart in Colorado. We married our wives within a year of each other and were married for forty two years and one of my Grandfather's was from Grand Junction. Actually, I think that it was just really easy to like Pat and it's going to be hard not to see him, but I'm very fortunate to have known him and I am praying that Carol will be blessed with the love of all of her friends. I don't know what more to say.
Chuck Collins
December 21, 2016
Carol, I'm sorry you lost your husband, friend, and fishing partner. I have enjoyed my occasional visits with Pat over the past 25 years or so since working with him in my engineering design position with the Bureau of Reclamation. I always enjoyed seeing holding a beautiful fish. Rest in peace Pat, we'll see you on the banks of the heavenly Jordan and God's presence be with you Carol.
Ron Johnson
December 21, 2016
I am so going to miss discussing local history with Pat and picking his brain for fly fishing tips, but even more I will miss his friendship and his unfailing dedication to fish and the waters they live in. Pat was kind enough to recently give me some individual help with my fly casting and in the future every time I make a good presentation to a fish, I will remember Pat with great fondness. All my best to you Carol, and I will see you soon.
George Osborn
December 21, 2016
Dear Carol, I am so very sorry for your loss. Pat was such a wonderful man and he will be missed by all who knew him. The love that you and Pat showed toward each other, will forever be a wonderful memory of mine. Love and Grace be yours.
Mark McMillan
December 20, 2016
What a beautiful obituary Pat wrote. I have heard so many great things about Pat and he makes me even more proud to have the Oglesby name.I get some wonderful stories my Dad Wes Oglesby(Pats cousin) and his brother Joe have told. I have always loved and admired the cowboy life and often think of his family on the western slope. I even got to eat at a pizza joint(Fargos Pizza) with Linda and Jere in Colorado Springs and we had a blast. I will never forget I was about 14 years old or so going to Hotchkiss for an Oglesby reunion it was a blast and so beautiful there. Edsel and Agnes made us feel so welcome at their home. May God richly bless Carol and the entire family now with the loss of this giant of a man "Pat". Greg Oglesby
Greg Oglesby Oglesby
December 19, 2016
Pat, save a spot for me on the river up-on-high. Our time on earth is just a warm-up for the pure glory you are living now. I'll see you soon enough. May the family of Pat receive comfort and blessings during this difficult time.
- Steve Schweitzer
Steve Schweitzer
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