Robert “Bob” Delzell, age 73, died unexpectedly on Jan. 27 of an aortic aneurysm while exercising in Los Osos, Calif. Born in Wyoming on Sept. 9, 1935, Bob was the only son of James W. Delzell and Lucile B. Newcomer. As Bob loved to say, “I was born in a horse barn, converted to a hospital along the Oregon Trail in Guernsey.
In 1938, the family moved to Denver. Except for two years in Dallas and Grand Prairie, Texas, Bob grew up in Colorado, graduating in 1954 from Englewood High School. “I played guard position on the first-string football team,” and from that experience came lifelong friendships, a respect for teamwork, and in later years a willingness to run, bike and exercise.
Bob attended Colorado A&M in Fort Collins, graduating in forestry and range management in 1958 just after the school became Colorado State University. He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service (SCS) in Trinidad (1958-62), Pagosa Springs (1962-66), and Pueblo (1969-72) before serving six years on Maui, Hawaii. In 1978, the family moved back to the Mainland where Bob was on loan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco. In July 1981, Bob became the State Resource Conservationist for SCS in Davis, Calif. He retired in 1990 after 33 years, two of which were spent back at CSU where he completed a master’s in 1968.
Bob is survived by Kathleen, his wife of 50 years; by daughters, Deborah (Scott Liddell) of Denver, Ruth (Yildiz Batuk) of Aurora, and Rebecca (Michael Calhoun) of Green Valley, Ariz.; by six grandchildren, Sarah and Samuel of Denver, Jemal and Ibrahim of Aurora, Torin and Alana of Green Valley; and by sister, Evelyn Ann Delzell, of Longmont. He is preceded in death by his parents and by grandson, Deniz Delzell Batuk.
He was a board member of the San Juan Citizens Alliance at the time of his death, and worked hard on its Oil and Gas Task Force to urge protection for families living near the San Juan Basin’s outcrop in La Plata and Archuleta counties.
A service for Bob will be held in Bayfield at Calvary Presbyterian Church in June. The family suggests gifts in Bob’s memory to the San Juan Citizens Alliance, P.O. Box 2461, Durango 81302, or KSUT, P.O. Box 737, Ignacio 81137.