Glenn Edwin Wilson Jr.

Cortez, Colorado

1935 - 2019


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On April 6, 2019, Glenn E. 'Kelly' Wilson Jr. passed away to be reunited with his mother, father and brother Johnny.

Kelly was born March 27, 1935 in Fontana (Rialto), California to Glenn Edwin and Mary Esther (Tompkins) Wilson. He was the oldest of four children, two sisters and a brother, John Allen, who preceded him in death. The family moved to Cortez, Colorado in 1937 to be closer to the rest of the Wilson clan.

Kelly grew up working on the family farm located east of Cortez and learned his strong work ethic from helping his Dad in the Wilson Coal Mines. He attended school in Cortez and graduated from Montezuma County High School in May of 1953. Kelly was very active in sports, but football was where he excelled and was a fullback all four years and in college. He honed his leadership skills while attending Fort Lewis A&M College on a football scholarship and was elected Student Body President as well as Captain of the football team. In 1955 he transferred to Colorado A&M or Colorado State University (CSU) to play football and to attend agriculture classes. He graduated in December of 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Agriculture.

Kelly used his degree to work for the CSU Extension Service for the next 22 years. He was a 4-H Club Agent in Weld County, an Agriculture Agent in Montezuma County, and the San Juan Basin Area Economic Development Specialist through CSU for Southwest Colorado for ten years.

Kelly is known statewide for his integrity and honesty having served as Junior Livestock Superintendent at the National Western Stock Show and 4-H Superintendent of the Colorado State Fair.

Kelly was instrumental in helping organize and write many the feasibility studies that led to the funding of the San Juan Basin Vo-Tech College; the Montezuma Rural Water Company; The Montezuma-Dolores Junior Fair; he helped develop several Cortez businesses including Nizhoni Best Log Industries, Trigos Popped Wheat, WITA Sweeping Service, Montezuma Rabbit Co-op, and Cortez Farmers Market, and helped relocate the Fairgrounds to its present location east of Cortez.

Kelly was also elected Montezuma County Commissioner in 1996 and re-elected in 2000. He served as a member of the Club 20 Executive Committee, Chairman of the Regional Senior Advisory Committee, and he was a 50+ year member of the Lake Vista Grange.

Kelly was not always in meetings. He loved being outdoors working in the garden, moving water, checking on the cows, and driving the tractor. It helped him think of the next good thing that would help make the community more viable. He loved being surrounded by his family, gathered around the kitchen table or giving the grandchildren a ride in the trailer. He and Diane traveled many miles to see family in Colorado, Montana, and Washington. He will be dearly missed by family and friends.

Kelly is survived by his first wife, Sally Jaqua; his two children, Gary (Deeanna) Wilson, and Beth (George) Foster; his grandchildren, Jennie Wilson, Jessica (Lucas) Moore, Jacob (Kristin) Wilson, and Carrie (Josh) Happoldt and Jill Foster; his great grandchildren, Marik Wilson, Patrick and Allison Moore, and Bailey and Collin Happoldt; his step-daughter, Lindy (Charlie) Tate from his marriage to Rita Barnes; and grandchildren Nikki, Robert and Mike; his sisters, Ann (Don) Brown and Sue (Wendell) Hassell; many nieces and nephews; his wife of 34 years, Diane; and his step children, Randy (Neisha) Calhoun, and Kim (Bennie) Rawson; grandchildren, Tyler Calhoun and Graham Rawson.

A memorial service will be held April 11, 2019 at 2 p.m., Ertel Funeral Home. Burial with Military Honors for his service in the CO National Guard will follow at the Cortez Cemetery. A reception will be held a Hampton Hall.

Services are under the direction of Ertel Funeral Home. To send condolences or to view the full obituary, log on to and click on the obituary section. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Montezuma County Historical Society in care of Ann Brown, P.O. Box 218, Cortez, CO 81321.

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Kelly was one of the three commissioners when I was hired to run the landfill in 1999. I thoroughly enjoyed his wisdom, his sense of fairness, and his humor. He touched many, many folks, positively and I am so blessed to have known him. He became a major impact on how I approached projects and I believe I am a better person because of his efforts. I send particular condolences to his family as I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with Sally when they ran the UPS store in town.

I enjoyed working with Kelly. He was always very supportive and positive about the County. He was well liked and will be missed by his many friends. My sympathy to his family.

Kelly cared about people throughout his career in Montezuma County from his work with the 4-H program to the discharge of his duties as County Commissioner. Kelly spent a lot of time thinking about the future of our community and was always willing work for its improvement. He touched a lot of lives and will be remembered.