Derrol E. Almond

Derrol E. Almond of Parachute died Sunday, April 20, 2003. He was 70.

He was born Dec. 17, 1932, in Capron, Okla., to Cleo and Ernest Almond. He grew up in Capron, where he excelled in basketball and graduated from high school in 1950.

He earned an associate degree in 1952 from Garden City Community College in Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in 1955 from Northwestern State College in Alva, Okla. He also earned a degree in administrative education from Western State College in Gunnison.

He served in the U.S. Army for two years during the Korean War, including one year in Japan, and was honorably discharged in January 1957.

Mr. Almond married Annabelle Fairbanks on Jan. 26, 1958, in Carmen, Okla.

They moved to Norwood, sight unseen, where Mr. Almond had his first teaching job.

In 1962, Mr. Almond was awarded a National Science Foundation scholarship, which he used to earn a master’s degree in biology from Kansas State Teacher’s College in Emporia. Mr. Almond taught biology in Greensburg, Kan., before returning to Norwood to teach science and coach basketball.

In 1967, Mr. Almond took the position of principal at Naturita Junior High School, where he served for three years. He then worked for 13 years as principal of Nucla Senior High School.

In 1983, the Almond family moved to Parachute, where Mr. Almond served as principal of Grand Valley High School, until his retirement in 1992.

He was called out of retirement the following year, and served two years as principal of North Park Junior/Senior High School in Walden. He also filled in as principal at both Bea Underwood Elementary and St. John Middle School in Battlement Mesa. More recently, he worked as a greeter at the Parachute True Value store.

As an educator and friend, Mr. Almond touched and influenced many people. He was recognized and greeted wherever he went in western Colorado by colleagues and students. He loved visiting and reminiscing with friends and students. He was an outstanding teacher and person, and many people thanked him for his impact on their lives.

These compliments let him know he had chosen the right profession and made a difference in people’s lives, which is the educator’s goal.

Mr. Almond also served as a trustee on the Parachute town board for eight years, lending his wisdom and integrity to the proceedings.

And in the words of one of his grandchildren, “Grandpa was one of the best grandpas in the world. He was really cool!”

Mr. Almond is survived by his wife of 45 years, Annabelle Almond of Parachute; by a daughter, DeAnne Pitre of Fremont, Calif.; by sons and daughter-in-law Don and Irene Almond of Grand Junction, and Dale Almond of Westminster; by a twin brother, Errol Almond of Hawthorne, Nev.; and by grandchildren Abraham and Syndey Almond of Grand Junction, and Natalie, Adam and Bernadette Almond of Fremont, Calif.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, in the gymnasium at the old Grand Valley High School, with the Rev. John Yadloski Jr. of Faith Baptist Church of Parachute officiating. Mr. Almond’s longtime friend and colleague, Wallace Belden, will present a special remembrance eulogy at the service.

Rifle Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Grand Valley Fire and Ambulance Protection District, 1777 Battlement Parkway, Parachute, CO 81635.

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