John Richard Bemenderfer passed on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (He was affectionately known as Dick).
Dick was born in Center, Colorado on January 21, 1932 to Henry and Hazel Bemenderfer, 5th of 6 children. His parents and grandparents had large farms and raised many types of crops: including potatoes and lots of animals; thus developing a deep love for the land and livestock. Dick attended Center High School where he met the love of his life, Betty Beaty. Dick graduated high school in 1950 and was soon drafted into the US Army and left for boot camp in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri on February 14, 1952. After boot camp, he and Betty eloped to Taos, NM and were married on July 11, 1952. He served in Bussac, France as a corporal, heavy equipment operator from 1952-1954 with the Company B 83rd Engineering C Battalion. Dick and Betty lived in Center until 1956, when Dick began his career with HW Moore. He became the field mechanic for HW Moore and moved to Durango, CO. Dick and Betty set up house at Falfa, where they owned a trailer park. In 1964, they moved to the west side of the Florida Mesa where they farmed 60+ acres and raised four daughters. Dick was a mechanic by trade and was a partner in C & D Repair, and later started Dick's Repair at the home place where he did fleet maintenance for Basin Coop and repaired Kubota Tractors for Southwest Ag. In 1978, Dick and Betty began raising sod for C & M Sod. By 1983, they had converted the farm acreage to sod and formed Snow Cap Sod. They produced many acres of premium sod for the Four Corners area. The business was a family operation as both Dick and Betty worked side-by-side to grow it, bringing in their daughters and grandchildren to help work part and full time. The sod farm employed many young men and women during the sod growing and harvest season; many coming back year after year and becoming part of the Bemenderfer extended family.
Dick served on the La Plata County Soil Conservation Board, La Plata County Planning Commission, a La Plata County 4-H Leader, President of the San Juan Basin Quarter Horse Association, Member of the Florida Grange and a sponsor of the Basin High School Rodeo Team.
Along with walking the fields, Dick's favorite thing to do was to be with family and friends. He was known for his honesty, integrity and value of hard work. Black coffee and fresh chocolate chip cookies were always available at his home.
When Dick and Betty sold Snow Cap Sod, they moved south to Aztec, NM, enjoying a warmer climate. They traveled extensively in the fifth wheel but eventually ended back up north to live in Bayfield.
He is preceded in death by two sisters: Carol Tyler and Joyce McClure, two brothers: James and Bobbie Bemenderfer.
Dick is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betty; daughters: Karen (Doug) Harrison; Brenda (Ken) Cundiff; Deb (Mel) Bartel and Kris (Mike) Hitti; grandchildren: Jennifer (Robb) Wettergren; Jeralynn Braddock; Derek (Ashley) Cundiff; Katie (Cole) Swanemyr; Keely (Ray Smith) Bemenderfer-Wren; Rustin (Kristiana) Bartel; Cahlie (Thad) McCollum and Cassie (Neil) Carico; great-grandchildren: Jamison and Dorian Wettergren; Riley and Klayson Cundiff; Mackenzie and Wyatt Swanemyr; Boone Smith; Wyatt, Rylee and Colt Bartel; Harlynn and Charlie McCollum; Hadley Keegan (Carico); sister Linda (Dick) Wilson; nieces: Cinda Roberts; Anita Wilson; Tracie Medina; nephews: Matt McClure and Kirby McClure and their families; as well as his extended family: Tim and Kate Middleton; Steve and Deb Otten; Tommy and Jan Brangle; James and Mary Jo Owens; Brian and Kylee Meisner as well as all their families and many others too numerous to list.
The family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the Mercy Hospice House staff for all their kindness. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Mercy Hospice House or charity of choice. A Celebration of Life will be held later this summer.