William (Bill) Allen Small passed away in his home in Cortez, CO, on Monday, June 17, 2019, at the age of 84. He was born in Encino, NM, on Saturday, July 21, 1934, to Burette and Viola Small. He was the fourth child in a family of five youngsters, but likely ranked #1 for keeping his mother on her toes. His ornery streak continued through his high school years in Farmington, and did not diminish until, well...ever. He joined the Navy when he was "18" (17 is close enough to 18, right?), serving from 1951 to 1955 as a Radar Operator. He was stationed on the USS Carpenter, a Gearing-class destroyer, and spent time in Japan and Korea during the Korean War.
Bill's sister Jean worked as a Lab Tech in the Clovis hospital, and on at least one occasion, moonlighted as a match-maker. She introduced Bill to her coworker, a young and pretty X-ray Tech named Helen Wagner. Helen decided that she could tolerate Bill well enough to spend the rest of her life with him, and they were wed on June 9th, 1955, in Farmington, NM. That tolerance was actually love; Bill and Helen built a life that would span 63 years of marriage, and yield 5 children, 14 grandchildren, and 28 great grandchildren. While Bill could have manned a football team with his progeny, he preferred other outdoor recreation such as trail riding on horseback, hunting in the mountains, boating at the lake (the family was a regular at Lake Powell, Navajo, and Naraguinnep), and teaching the youngins to water ski. To support these activities, and feed all of those mouths, Bill worked at Patterson's Office Equipment repairing office machines, and for the City of Cortez as the Water Plant Operator, from which he retired in 1999. He also ran a small farm North of Cortez. He was a volunteer firefighter for the Cortez Fire Department for 16 years, followed by membership on the Fire Protection District Board of Directors until 1998. Perhaps most importantly, he was a prestigious founding member of the Ute Cafe coffee club.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents, Burette and Viola; and his 4 siblings, Shirley Ewig, Jean Aimes, Thurman Small, and Ross Small.
He is survived by his wife, Helen; his children, Mark (Connie) Small, John (Suzie) Small, Cathy (Doug) Stone, Shirley (James) Jones, and David (Kathy) Small; his grandchildren, Elizabeth (Sam) Sparks, Lacy (Jason) Moore, Kierra (Danny) Fury, Nick (Danielle) Small, Ross (Alyssa) Small, Jenn (Sam) Cropp, Luke (Meghan) Small, Eric (Tiffany) Small, Jacob Stone, Melanie (Shane) Armendariz, Tyler Jones, Sean (Becca) Small, Collin Small, and Kim Arlt; and 28 great grandchildren.
Bill's memorial will be a casual affair at the Cortez Fire Department, on Sunday, June 23rd, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. All friends are invited to attend, share memories, and celebrate Bill's life. Donations in Bill's name can be made to:
VFW Post 5231 Montezuma County
PO Box 561
Cortez, CO 81321