Cover photo for Walter Lueders's Obituary
Walter Lueders Profile Photo
1945 Walter 2020

Walter Lueders

July 25, 1945 — April 21, 2020

A truly original and authentic Cowboy, Walter Alvin Lueders (Butch) passed away on April 21st, 2020.
Walt was always quick with an infectious smile and a firm handshake for his friends, and quicker with a hug to the ladies. He was born to Bertha and Melvin Lueders in Kerrville, Texas on July 25, 1945.

Walt’s older brother, James, was born in 1944, then Walt in 1945; another brother Billy was born later but did not survive infancy; Melba was born in 1948, and Sharon in 1951. Two boys, two girls; this close-knit family began lives that would continuously intertwine throughout the coming years.

Walt was born a cowboy and worked horses with his mother as soon as he could sit in a saddle.
He loved nature, animals, and working with his hands. In high school Walt showed prize sheep in FFA, oftentimes needing to enlist his oldest sister to help show them for he would enter more animals than he could show at one time. In 1956 his mother bought a lot in the Sand Hills of Clint, Texas, and the entire family set to work to build their home. He graduated from Clint High School in ’64.

At 19 years old, Walt went to San Diego, California, where his brother James was stationed in the Navy. He found work on a ranch that raised and raced carriage horses. His mom and sisters rode the train out to California to assist James’ wife, Roberta, who was soon to give birth to Jimmy. Walt was to marry Marsha Pense and they wed in a church in ’65; she wore a wedding dress handmade by Bertha. They returned to Texas to the family-built home where their son Bill was born in May of ’66. By the time Walt was 20 years old, he had built a family home, graduated, held several jobs, married, became a father, and had honed his many talents involving horses.

In 1965 Walt took a position at Crowbar, Inc. in El Paso; the largest U. S. Postal Contractor in the Nation.
He first started out as a truck driver, but his talents and “can do” attituded quickly elevated him to General Manager. Walt and Marsha divorced in 1975. Walt set out on the trail again.

In 1976, Walt joined with his soul-mate, Bonna Cromeens. They opened a western store in the valley in El Paso and travelled the Quarter Horse show circuit in New Mexico and Texas; training, riding, and showing their prized Palomino Pleasure Horses. They shared a peaceful life and mutual love for many things: animals and horses, laughter, peaceful evenings, and western dancing. In 1979 they moved to Collinsville in northern Texas, and built a beautiful ranch filled with animals, flower and vegetable gardens. Bonna’s love for animals met its match with Walt; he was always bringing home a stray or a barter or “just because”. The ranch was home to Bulldogs and Quarter Horses, miniature horses and pigs and goats, pigeons, quail and cattle – all of them were pets. Walter’s vocation was as a farrier and horse trainer, and his reputation quickly grew as a highly sought-after handler in this northern Texas Quarter Horse country.

It was 1993, Yonna and Halla encouraged Walt and Bonna to move to Bayfield so they could all be together. With Walt’s experience and expertise with horses and all things farm and ranch, he quickly established a whole new life in Colorado doing what he loved and did best. He became a Manager for a show horse ranch. Never one to waste daylight, and being the hard-working cowboy he was born to be, Walt procured another Manager position at a second ranch down the road, and then another, managing all at the same time. His sister Sharon moved to Bayfield in ’99, met her husband Jerry there, and six months later Jerry and Sharon moved Bertha, still living in the Sand Hills house the family built, to Bayfield.

This Cowboy’s life was one of family, freedom, horses, the land, and more horses. And sadness. Walt’s son Bill died in 1992 at the young age of 26. Walt’s older brother James died much too early in 1998, of mesothelioma. He was 54. Walt’s father Melvin passed away in 2000 in Clint, Texas. Together for 30 years, Bonna passed away, by Walt’s side, in the early morning hours of January 5, 2006. Only 2 months followed before Walt lost his beloved mother in March. Bertha rests in the Bayfield cemetery.

A difficult year followed. Walt enjoyed a very close relationship with his nephew Jimmy, and so he came to live at Walt’s house and look after him for a year. Eventually, Walt got back in the saddle and carried on – to live the next chapter of his life.

Walt would often times stop for coffee at the Bayfield Mini Merc. It was there that he met Sally Burrows.
Sally invited Walt to her birthday party, and soon afterward they began dating. They enjoyed the simple pleasures in life together; picnics, the rodeo, barbeques with friends and family, and dining out. Walt quickly developed lasting and loving relationships with Sally’s family. Alan, Meeghan and Elijah, Sally’s son, granddaughter and grandson, would stop by the house often – all 3 would lend a hand to Walt with whatever chores needed to be done. Walt and Whitney, Sally’s daughter, became fast friends – due to each other’s philosophy of no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is style. Jim Martindale, Whitney’s husband, developed a close friendship with Walt, helping each other at any time, as did their children Jordan and Connor.

Over the years Walt developed chronic lung problems and respiratory allergies. He suffered several events with COPD, and was hospitalized on April 11th. Two days later, Walt was placed on a ventilator and under sedation for the next week. Walt passed away peacefully at Mercy hospice in a beautiful, peaceful room, visited by all his family just hours before he passed on the evening of April 21st.

So Long, Pardner.

Walt is preceded in death by his wife Bonna Cromeens, his mother Bertha Hammett, his father Melvin Lueders, his brothers James Lueders and Billy Earl Lueders, and his son William Lueders.

Walt is survived by his two sisters Melba Hughes and Sharon Kaber, and his two step-daughters
Yonna Moore and Halla Garrity, and his granddaughter Maris Moore.

Walt is survived by his girlfriend Sally Burrows, her daughter Whitney and husband Jim Martindale and their daughter Jordan and son Connor, and her son Alan Burrows and his former wife, Melinda and their children Meeghan and Elijah.

Walt will be missed by his many nieces and nephews: Jimmy Lueders and daughter Jamie Hill, Ron Geckler and son Quinton Geckler, Becky Benning and husband Doug Benning and son David Benning and daughter Evelyn Benning, Tammy Hughes and husband Jeff Miller and son Mason Miller, Sherry Beardshear and husband Chris Beardshear and sons Jack and Sam Beardshear.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests donations be made to the COPD Foundation:

There will be a Celebration of Life for Walt sometime this summer in Bayfield, CO. We will notify all Friends and Family as to the date and location. All are welcome to share in his memory.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter Lueders, please visit our flower store.


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