Cover photo for Suzan Gray's Obituary
Suzan Gray Profile Photo
1949 Suzan 2021

Suzan Gray

September 19, 1949 — August 28, 2021

Suzan Mae Gray died on August 28th, 2021. She born at Mercy Hospital in Durango on September 16, 1949 to John Gray IV and Eva Jean Olson Gray. She grew up in the family home on Main Street in Pagosa with her brother, John Edward (Ned), her sister, Jeanie and their beloved Irish Setter, Patty.

She was active in her school and her community throughout her younger years. She was a cheerleader, played clarinet in the band, was the editor of yearbook was a very skilled pianist and was a member of the teenage Republicans. One of her fond memories was introducing Barry Goldwater at the old Fine Arts auditorium at Fort Lewis.

After her parents divorced, she moved with her father who worked for the B.I.A. to Zuni, New Mexico where she graduated in 1967. Following graduation, she moved to Colorado Springs to live with her mother. It was there that she met Joe Dernoga, who was working on the NORAD project. The couple were married in 1969 and spent the next several years traveling due to his work with the government.

After her divorce, she returned to Durango where she worked as a real estate agent and later as an insurance agent. She was a council leader for Girl Scouts and was instrumental in changing the council in this area from the Mile Hi to Chapparal. Later, she moved back to Pagosa where she was active in the American Cancer Society, Kiwanis and became an organizer for Pagosa Spanish Fiesta. She loved supporting her youngest daughter, Jessica in school activities; especially sports. She was a proud Pagosa Pirate and a cheerleader to the end.

Her final years were spent at Suzanne’s home in Durango where she did crossword puzzles, talked to the pets and watched the news. In her later life she became an ardent Democrat and never missed an opportunity to state her political opinions. She particularly cherished having coffee with her youngest granddaughter, Julia. Upon her death, Julia commented, “I’ve lost my best friend.”

A memorial will be held at 3:00 p.m. on September 11th at the home of Suzanne Garcia, 1000 County Road 206 in Durango. Condolences may be sent to the same address. Suzan is survived by her children, Suzanne Dernoga Garcia, Joseph Casimir Dernoga, Jessica Sue Martinez and granddaughters, Claudia Ilamae Garcia and Julia Jean Garcia, as well as her step-sisters and many dear cousins.

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