Leslie Dale Slavens was born to Edward Dale and Viola Elaine (Selbe) Slavens on October 12, 1947 in Johnson Hospital in Cortez. Les is survived by his wife, Sandra A. Slavens of Cortez and daughter, Karla Robson of Dolores, her children, Joshua and Rachel, Crystal and Billy, and her eight grandchildren, of Cortez; and by his sister-in-law, Tammy "T" Helland of Huxley, Iowa. Les is also survived by his mother, Elaine Slavens; his brother, Gary and wife, Nova Slavens, their daughter Stacy and husband, Shawn and their children Kenyon, Dashall, Wesley and Zoe, all of Cortez; his aunt, Daisy Mae Black and her children, Debbie and Tony Hamilton and their children, Kylee and Kenin and families of Cortez and Dove Creek, Dennis and Joy Black and their children, Colby and Calan of Scottsdale, Ariz., Karen Pickarts and her daughter, Carmen Hallock and family of Colorado Springs; and by his aunts, Janet Black of Louisville, Colo., Lilian and Dave Cash and family of Greeley, Colo. Les was proceeded in death by his grandparents, Basil and Estie Slavens, and Homer and Jessie Selbe; his dad, Dale Slavens; his uncle, Lymon Black; and his son, Christopher Leslie Dale Slavens.
Dale and Elaine lived in a small house near Myler Corner and soon after Les' birth moved into town to their home on Beech Street where he resided until he graduated high School. Les enjoyed baseball, football, basketball, softball and skiing. There are home movies of him skiing as a toddler. Les had the heart of an adventurer and loved to experience life. Les spent free afternoons sweeping and doing odd jobs at the hardware store. Les graduated from Cortez High School in 1965. He went on to CU Boulder for a year before being drafted into the Army. On September 6, 1967 Les received an expert rating, the highest mark a soldier can achieve on his rifle qualification test. He spent one year in Vietnam. After the war he spent some time traveling with friends across Europe. Les returned to Durango and took classes at Fort Lewis and did ski instructing at Purgatory. Les then started working for his dad and granddad alongside his brother, Gary at the hardware store. Les and Gary purchased Slavens True Value Hardware from their folks in 1991, and continued to operate as partners all these years. Les loved working at the store and helping people.
Les met Sandy and they were married June 23, 1979 at Echo Basin in Mancos. They enjoyed boating, skiing, horseback riding and 4 wheel drive mountain roads in Les's 1977 Ford pickup. Les and Sandy resided on Henry Street in Cortez, where Karla spent her summers and where they welcomed their son Christopher in 1982. After 20 years in Cortez, they purchased property on CR P and built a home. They had enough land to have their horses, some hay and pasture. This always kept them busy. Les has always been involved in community events, donating generously to most anyone in need. Les had a wonderful, caring heart of gold and seldom did he turn anyone away empty handed. Les coached soccer and baseball during Christopher's youth. Les was on the board of directors for First National Bank Cortez, and was the Chair for the Ute Mountain Gaming Commission for many years. Les lost his 10 year battle with cancer on March 14, 2017. There will be a celebration gathering at the Farm Bistro on Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 1:00-3:00. All will be encouraged to bring a written story for the family, and/or share a story while having light snacks. A celebration of life for Les will be held at Ryman Creek, in warmer, dryer weather, possibly early June. Please continue to check Ertel's website for a date. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Four Corners Child Advocacy Center, 140 N Linden, Cortez, Colo., 81321