Obituary: Jesse Estes
On Monday, April 20th, 2020 our beloved father Jesse Lee Estes was called home by his Heavenly Father. Lee, at age 86 passed away from advanced dementia that he had been battling the last 6 years. Lee had lived exclusively in Rifle, Co. all his living years. He was born in Rifle, Co. on January 22nd, 1934 to his parents Jesse Boone and Alma Place (Boor) Estes.
Lee worked for his dad’s coal business and sawmill, which was located at Camp Creek in East Divide Creek when he was growing up and graduated from Rifle Union High School in 1952. Lee played baseball in High School where he excelled as a pitcher, but his favorite sport was basketball where he also excelled at the guard position. He lettered all 4 years at Rifle High in baseball and basketball and the Rifle Bears team won the conference in high school basketball 3 years in a row from 1950-1952. Rifle lost to GJ Central in the west slope finals by 2 points, but still went to state and lost to Brighton and Lamar. He also lettered in band in 1951 where he played a baritone instrument.
On August 2nd, 1953 Lee married Darlene Peppiatt and together they had 2 sons, Frank and Doug. He went to worked for his Uncle Les and Richard Estes at Estes Trucking Co. after graduating high school, where he hauled mostly livestock and timber from sawmills. He also worked for Rippy Construction building a road over Lizard Head Pass where he operated a bulldozer. In 1958 he was hired by Ray and Gary Swallow where he drove a semi transport hauling fuel from Sinclair WY and Denver to the bulk plant in Rifle. Lee and his brother Jim then bought the Mobil Service station located at 5th street and Railroad Avenue from Lynn Hill in 1966 and sold it in 1970. From 1970 to 1976 he was co-owner of Track-N-Trail with Bob Hoffmeister, leasing the American Legion building located on W. 2nd Street in Rifle. In 1970 Lee purchased the EZ Way Car Wash on Railroad Ave. from Lowell Noren, and sold it in 1980 to Harold Piper of Rifle. From 1977 to 1982 Lee worked for Grover Trucking Co. out of Idaho Falls, ID. hauling material on a flatbed trailer pulled by his new 1977 Kenworth tractor. From 1982 to about 1985 Lee was an independent owner/operator with his truck where his wife Darlene and a dog called Diamond traveled cross-country for hire. Lee also was a Rifle Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance driver for several years.
From 1985 to 1992 Lee owned and operated a Ski-doo snowmobile dealership from his home near the old Antler’s store between Rife and Silt called Garfield County Snowmobile. He was an active racer with Ski-doo snowmobiles for a long time and won several races in Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho sanctioned by the Rocky Mountain American Snowmobile Association and American Snowmobile Association. He won the Co. State Championship snowmobile races held at Grand Lake, Co. for several years in the drag race event with his good friend and expert snowmobile mechanic James Ray of Rifle. Lee was also an active member of the Garfield County Snowmobile Club for several years where he won “Groomer of the Year” award one year.
In 1992 Lee worked for GMCO spreading magnesium chloride material on dirt and graveled roads at various locations across the state of Colorado until he finally retired in 2006 at the age of 72.
Lee was preceded in death by his wife Darlene; sisters Mary Jane Mead and Jo Ann Dorrell; parents Jesse and Alma Estes, brother-in-law Don Dorrell and Norman Mead; sister-in-law Marilyn Miller, brother-in-law Lee Miller and nephew Clark Miller and Loren Mead. He is survived by his 2 sons, Franklin Estes (Jacqueline), and Doug Estes; nephew Scott Miller (Malinda); nieces, Lori Miller LeFebre and Lynn Miller Johnson. He also had 4 nieces and 2 nephews from the marriage of Mary Jane and Norman Mead. He was very sad that he had to leave his cat Squeaky when he went to the nursing home and Squeaky still wonders where he went.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial/interment for both Lee and his wife Darlene that passed in July of last year will take place at Rose Hill Cemetery in Rifle, Colorado at a later date and time that will be announced. Arrangements are under the care of Rifle Funeral Home.
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