Lex Joseph Bumgardner (June 4, 1939 — February 20, 2018)
Lex Bumgardner was born in Grand Valley (Parachute Creek), CO, to Joseph W. and Lillian E. Bumgardner. He is assumed to be one of the last people born, not in a hospital, on Parachute Creek. Lex passed away in Mesa, Arizona.
Lex spent a lot of his pre-teen years in a sheep camp on Horse Mtn. north of Rifle working with his family and often spoke fondly of the time he spent up on the mountain.
He attended school in Rifle and graduated from Rifle Union High School in 1957. While in high school, he was a member of the wrestling team and developed an interest in rodeo, riding bareback and saddle bronc horses. He passed both sports down to his children, helping them as much as he could.
He was drafted into the Army in 1961, enlisting at Ft. Carson in January of 1962. He completed basic training there and was transferred to Ft. Hood in Texas where he was honorably discharged in January of 1964. In 1962, he married Margaret Sykes with the ceremony officiated by an Army Chaplain. Their union brought them three sons; Rusty, Ray and Rick. He and Margaret dissolved the marriage in 1977, but remained lifelong friends and partnered in raising their three sons.
Lex worked as a truck driver hauling livestock, as well as working as a heavy equipment operator for many years. He also had a few small businesses building radio towers and working with leather. During the late ’70s and early ’80s many kids on the local rodeo circuit wore chaps that he had made for them. His real calling, though, was working in the drilling industry where he drilled many water wells throughout Summit County in the late ’60s. He drilled some of the first core samples for the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels on I-70 before finding his place on the north slope of Alaska drilling for oil for many years. After finishing his work in Alaska, he used his knowledge and expertise working in Wyoming and Colorado as a drilling consultant.
In his mid to later years, he could often be found at the coffee shop telling stories with friends. He had a herd of cows and enjoyed working with his boys ranching and haying. He enjoyed spending time on horseback on the cattle summer range moving cows. He later became fond of the warmer weather of Apache Jct., AZ, where he had become accustomed to spending the winter months.
Lex was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his sister Cora Lopez of Grand Jct.; three children, Rusty (Sheryl) of Cypress Tx., Ray (Stacy) of Silt, Co., and Rick (Becky) of Eagle, Co.; five Grandchildren, Colton 19, Clayton 17, Kallie 15, Jack 13, and Anna 10; as well as numerous nephews, nieces and cousins. A Celebration of life will be held at the Red Barn Guest Ranch, 345 County Rd. 262, Silt, CO., on March 10 from 1pm – 3pm.
In lieu of flowers the family has set up a Memorial fund for Lex Bumgardner at any Wells Fargo Bank. The account number is 5492747067. All money raised for this fund is going to be donated to the Grand Junction Veterans Hospital in his name.
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