Howard Ulmer Motz (Feb. 23, 1930 – Sept. 9, 2018)
A man firmly rooted in his beliefs, his values and his wishes for how things simply ought to be, he took his last breath insisting that he would not go to a nursing facility but rather that he wished to go “Home.” And, as a loyal man, always true to his word, that’s exactly where he went, Home.
His unquestioning commitment to his faith and God, his unwavering patriotism to his country and his unending strength and love for his family are only a few of his defining characteristics. We would be remiss in mentioning that while he was man of character when it came to the things that really matter, he also had a knack for stirring the pot at times and thoroughly enjoyed recounting these stories. Just ask, “Jeannie”, his beloved wife of almost 70 years to tell you all about it. There’s lots to tell.
Grand Junction was his home on earth from day one, and he embodied the spirit of his small western town. He was a third generation Grand Valley native whose grandparents arrived in Palisade in 1904. His parents, Harold and Acquila Motz, later homesteaded in East Orchard Mesa on a fruit ranch. He was the youngest of three boys, and as with his parents, his brothers, Harold Jr. Motz (Evelyn) and Kenneth Motz (Margaret), have preceded him in death. He loved the mountains, Lake Powell, the trees, horses, dogs, music, guns, hunting, the American spirit, and freedom. And, yes, Gunsmoke and John Wayne reruns.
He fought for everything he ever got, and his family will tell you that he never rested a day in his life. He simply didn’t know how to do it. He was a hard-working man with a desire to make life better for everyone he knew, and often times, for people he didn’t, especially for kids at the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. He was a member of Masonic Blue Lodge 173, Scottish Right Lodge, Knights Templer, El Jebel Shrine (50-year pin), Jester’s, Elks Lodge (60-year pin), the Republican Party, Army Reserve 1st Lieutenant Artillery, and the Colorado National Guard. As a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church, he and Jeanne were married there 69 years ago. In his younger years he was an excellent violinist and continued to enjoy playing music with his family members throughout his life. He was also passionate about his homemade chili, Buffalo Salt, Bloody Marys, and bread recipes and he shared all of them with zeal.
His professional resume is a three-page homage to a man that hardly slept—engineer, entrepreneur, land developer and consultant. And while he accomplished everything a man might dream of, he contributed endlessly to his community, and helped shape the very landscape of Western Colorado. He was a licensed Professional Civil Engineer and Professional Land Surveyor, and served as assistant City Engineer for the City of Grand Junction and a contract Civil Engineer for the City of Glenwood Springs. As Vice-President and General Manager of Corn Construction, he helped start Grand Junction Pipe & Supply Company and oversaw a major renovation of the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool in the 1960’s. He started his own road construction company, GMCO, which serviced all of Western Colorado and is still in operation today. Additionally, he was involved in the development of numerous residential and commercial developments including Oak Meadows in Glenwood Springs and The Ridges subdivision in Grand Junction as well as manager of the Ridges Metropolitan District. He later changed career paths and was a principal in creating and managing the Housing Assistance Programs (HAC) which provided low interest loans in the 1970’s for single family homes in Mesa County. He was appointed to and served on state and local commissions as well as other various financial and corporate boards.
He will be most missed as the husband of Jeanne Motz, father of Gayle Mitchell (John), Greg Motz (Jody) and Chris Motz – deceased (Linda), grandfather of Ashley Yetman (Lyle), Jaime Scripps (Wes), Jennifer Seal (James), Carly Arrasmith, Brian Motz (Heather), Kelly Benson (Jake) and Matt Motz (Marisa), and great-grandfather McCale, Alaina, Caden, Ambria, Noah, Finn, Everett, Joseph, Bixby, Lucia and Eric.
Please join us for a celebration of Howard’s life on Friday, October 19, 2018, at 1PM at the First United Methodist Church, 522 White Avenue. A reception at the Redlands Mesa Clubhouse, 2325 West Ridges Boulevard, will immediately follow the service. A private burial will be held at Memorial Gardens on October 20, 2018.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Shriners Hospitals For Children—Salt Lake City, C/O Donor Development, 1275 East Fairfax Road, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103 or to First United Methodist Church, 522 White Avenue, Grand Junction, Colorado 81501.
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