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Byron “Mac” McKelvie passed away peacefully on October 29, 2020. Byron was born on a Tuesday on September 30, 1930 to James Walton and Florence Petra (Olsen) McKelvie, just five minutes after the arrival of his twin brother Burton. He was born at the family home on Kansas Mesa South of Collbran, Colorado. His birth was attended by Dr. Watson, family physician. Byron and his twin Burton had three older siblings at the time of their birth: Theodore Thomas, Donald Walton, and Douglas Hugh. In 1940 the family moved to a much larger ranch nearby, until the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In April 1942 they returned the ranch to its previous owner and moved to Salt Lake City to become involved in the war effort.
In The Song of the Lark, one of the many works of literature in Byron’s library, it is said, “Any account of the loyalty to young hearts to some exalted ideal, and the passion with which they strive, will always, in some of us, rekindle generous emotions.” Byron was a man with many passions. He had a great interest in history, academics, journalism, art, and music from a young age. He was accomplished in school, having attended Hamilton Grade School, Roosevelt Jr. High School, and East High School in Salt Lake City.
Circa 1948, he and his family returned to Grand Junction where he finished high school and graduated from Mesa Junior College with an Associate’s Degree in Journalism. Upon completion of college, he joined the United States Air Force. While in the Air Force he was Associate Editor for a military personnel newspaper, The Burtonwood Beacon. He was stationed at the Burtonwood Airforce Base in England. During this time, he met and married Ellen Beardsall. Together they had 4 children, David Alan, Michael, Sharon Ann and Kevin John.
After his military service, Byron worked for newspapers in several Western Colorado communities including Grand Junction, Rifle, and Gunnison. Finally, he found his home and lifelong career in Cortez, Colorado. For 36 years, Byron was a writer, columnist, then editor at The Cortez Journal. As a part of the Silent Generation, he upheld value, discipline, simplicity, and a strong work ethic. He was also a very quiet person. To quote Emily Dickinson, “Saying nothing sometimes says the most.” Byron was a listener. From his work on the Dolores Water Project with the Dolores Water Conservancy District, to his active membership in the American Legion, to the love of his community and how he gave back to it through over 4,000 volunteer hours in the Welcome Center in Cortez, Byron listened, learned, and helped. He served his family, friends, community, and country.
Byron is survived by his brothers, Theodore Thomas “Tom” McKelvie of Gunnison, Colorado and Burton “Burt” McKelvie of Garden Grove, California; his sons, Michael, David, Kevin; his daughter Sharon; and many nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by those who had the honor of knowing him. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic services are undetermined at this time.
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