Danny “Dan” Harold Kerst
Danny “Dan” Harold Kerst, our patriarch, hero and beloved Gramps, went Home to be with the Lord on the morning of September 7, 2015, surrounded by his family in song and prayer. Words can neither express what he means to all of us who love him nor how much he will be missed. Stronger than the wrenching sorrow we feel in our loss is our immense gratitude both to him and for him.
Dan was born June 14, 1950, in Vancouver, Washington, to Bernard and Devonna Kerst. His parents and only sister, Carolyn, had made a temporary move to the Pacific Northwest so that his dad could support the war effort working as a welder on WW II Victory ships in Portland, Oregon. After he was born his family returned to Wray, Colorado, where he was raised in a loving, disciplined and hard-working ranching family of humble means. Carolyn and her husband, Wayne, were killed in a car-train accident in 1966.
The tragedy and struggle forged in him a work ethic that was the mainstay of his life and career. Dan became an outstanding student, 4-H grand champion and star wrestler. As a senior in high school Dan represented Colorado as a wrestling ambassador to Japan. It was also in high school that he met the love of his life, Lynne Stults. They were married September 5, 1970, and were blessed to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary on the Saturday prior to his death.
Dan completed law school at the University of Denver, turned down a job as a public defender in Boulder (owing to his aversion to conflict), cut his hair (owing to the ’70s), and accepted a job with a firm in Glenwood Springs. In the next 40 years he and Lynne built a house on Cattle Creek, started a family with two sons, Jared and Tyler, helped plant and grow Mountain View Church, established a substantial estate planning practice in the Roaring Fork Valley, and built another house when they moved to town.
He is survived by his wife, sons and precious daughters-in-law Jenny and Keturah. He is also survived by his “manifest joy,” Gramps’ girls, six adoring granddaughters Isabel, Adelyn, Annaliese, Harper, Emmeline and Regan.
His accomplishments, awards and accolades number more than a few, and he would be uncomfortable even mentioning them. This understated man had little time or concern for material wealth, toys or fancy cars, which he eschewed for trips with his family and friends. He spent an inordinate amount of his time serving others without consideration for recompense. It is the things for which he stood and the Cross before which he bowed that defined him. The considerable character of this man is his legacy: warm, caring and compassionate. Humble, selfless and generous to a fault. Diligent. Principled. Honest. Slow to judge and quick to apologize. Investing his substantial talents Dan became a foundation of his family and community: Loving husband. Caring father. Exceptional friend. Wise counselor. Peacemaker. Advocate for the Truth.
Received into the presence of Christ Jesus we know he heard these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Amen.
Dan’s family would like to thank everyone who has loved and supported us through these last two years of Dan’s battle with leukemia. We would like to thank the dedicated staff at Valley View Hospital, University of Colorado Hospital, and Hospice of the Valley whose exceptional care for Dan helped give us as much time with him as possible.
Those wishing to make donations in his honor are asked to do so to either Northwestern Colorado Youth for Christ or to IdRaHaJe, a Christian camp and retreat center in Bailey, Colorado. A memorial service is to be held at Mountain View Church on Saturday, September 12th, at 10:00AM. A graveside service will be held at Wray Cemetery in Wray, Colorado, on September 19, 2015, at 10:00AM.
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