William (Bill) Rutledge died July 12, 2020 at the Valley Inn Nursing Home in Mancos, CO at the age of 91.
Bill was born in Hesperus, CO to John W. Rutledge and Margaret (Shea) Rutledge, the third of five children. He attended elementary school at the original Fort Lewis campus at Hesperus and graduated from Durango High School in 1948.
Bill grew up around horses and during his late teens and early twenties worked as a jockey, then later as a trainer for various local race horse owners. Bill’s adult career was centered around law enforcement. As a U.S. Marine during the Korean war, he was a military policeman stationed in Hawaii. Upon leaving the military, he became a member of the Cortez Police Department where he met and married his wife, Lois Roe, in 1952, and began his family consisting of two daughters, Shannan and Kerry.
Bill served as Chief of Police for two years on the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation at Towaoc, CO where he learned the Ute and Navajo languages. He then served several years as a Montezuma County Sheriff’s Department deputy and undersheriff until becoming a Parole Officer for the Colorado Department of Corrections. In 1970 Bill was transferred to Grand Junction as Parole Supervisor and in 1980 became the Regional Manager for the Western Slope of Colorado. In 1982 he was recognized as the “Outstanding Manager of the Year” by the Department of Corrections. Following retirement, Bill and Lois moved back to Cortez for 19 years where he served a term as a city council member, then moved to Grand Junction again in 2009 to be near immediate family.
Bill was predeceased by his parents; his siblings, Margaret Klatt, Veronica Phelps, John Rutledge; and his daughter, Shannan. He is survived by his sister, Virginia Bechtolt (Don); his daughter, Kerry; granddaughter, Megan (Jeromy); two great grandchildren, Kaylea and James Kaus; his wife, Lois; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
Bill loved hunting, fishing, camping, traveling, reading, spending time with all his family and friends and commuting with his special horse friend, Nugget, that he acquired after retirement.
Bill was a man known for his integrity who cared about people and served the public well, helping many people make better choices in their lives. He was a proud Irishman with an infectious sense of humor and had hundreds of stories to tell from his own life experiences. Bill never met a stranger, and will be well-remembered by everyone who knew him.
Services will be held Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Grand Junction, CO.
Memorial contributions can be made in Bill’s name to the Catholic Outreach in Grand Junction, CO, or to Project Outreach Center for Veterans, DAV Chapter 44, 432 N. Broadway, Cortez, CO.