Routt County has lost another of its pioneers. Lloyd Phillip Monger peacefully passed away on May 6, 2004, at his home of 57 years on the Lower Elk River. His caring family surrounded him.
Lloyd, who recently turned 88, was born April 29, 1916, to John Phillip Monger and Adeline Johnson Monger. He was born in Routt County on the family homestead beneath the Sleeping Giant Mountain, the fifth of six children. He was raised by his father and neighbors after his mother's death in 1918. He attended the Chimney Creek, Fairplay and Elk Mountain country schools and completed eight years of education before joining the work force.
Lloyd's early adult years included farming, logging, trucking and other odd jobs. He enjoyed traveling, mostly by horseback and skis, to country dances and frequently participated in the Steamboat Winter Carnival, either skijoring or pulling other skiers. Lloyd enlisted in the Navy and left Steamboat on Jan. 2, 1942. His entire service was spent on the battleship USS Nevada as a machinist. His tour included a typhoon, a suicide plane and a number of major battles, including the Normandy Invasion and Iwa Jima. He was discharged Oct. 19, 1945.
Lloyd met Evelyn Dougherty at the Zenda Ballroom in Los Angeles, Calif., when he was on shore leave. He subsequently was sent back for a one-year tour of duty. During that tour, they corresponded by mail and later were married on Oct. 25, 1945, in Los Angeles -- six days after his discharge from the Navy.
In April 1946, the newlyweds purchased their future home on the Lower Elk River and personally logged the materials to build it. The ranch expanded in phases, eventually reaching 1,057 acres. Crops included hay and small grains, and they raised cattle with minimal outside assistance.
Lloyd's civic endeavors included more than 50 years in the American Legion, 10 years on the Routt County Soil Conservation Board, 18 years with the Yampa Valley Co-op board of directors, and he was a longtime supporter of 4-H programs and chariot racing. In 1972, Lloyd was given a plaque for Outstanding Accomplishments in Ranching by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Lloyd and Evelyn semi-retired about 1981. They traveled extensively, including trips to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Europe and throughout the United States, as well as motor home excursions to Mexico and one trip to Alaska. For 17 years, they spent about two months of each year in Yuma, Ariz., staying in motor-home parks.
Lloyd was a sturdy image of a father, husband and grandfather. He was compassionate yet flexible; he was a farmer and rancher yet felt comfortable with a broad range of people. He was an individual who truly appreciated, enjoyed and experienced the outdoors, either by camping, fishing, hunting or boating. Lloyd used exceptional animal husbandry skills and had a good eye for animals, including a practical sense for use. His animals were not ones that were catered to and pampered, but rather respectfully used, expected to perform and rewarded for their performance. Lloyd took pride in his farming skills and worked tirelessly to get his grain fields properly tilled so that the optimum crop would grow. His crops and yields often were envied. Lloyd also was exceptionally comfortable in his workshop. He usually had a rebuild job scheduled for every winter and spent endless hours working on those projects to prepare for the next harvest season. Lloyd was notorious for completing his projects, be it an engineer build, gathering a sick cow, painting ranch buildings or making a haystack just right.
A few of his quotes to be remembered are: "Never let a cow get the best of you," and "Doin' nothing is the hardest job because you can't take a break."
Lloyd's children and grandchildren were his greatest joy. One of Lloyd's most endearing characteristics was his desire to provide the tools for his children to succeed. He took great pride in being able to provide the opportunities that he was not as fortunate to have had. He prided himself as a father teaching his children the value of dedication and hard work.
Lloyd was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters, Elizabeth and Vaunna; and a brother, Frank. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Evelyn; his brothers, John and Ben; his five children, Larry and his wife, Mary Kay, Vernon and his wife, Mikki, Kenneth and his wife, Nancy, Doug and his wife, Lauretta, and Donna Mae Hoots and her husband, Steve; 13 grandchildren and one great-grand daughter. He will continue to look over all of us, knowing that he is remembered and deeply loved.
Contributions may be made to the Parkinson's Association for Research or Routt County 4-H/Multi Use Building Fund in care of Grant Mortuary, 621 Yampa Ave.; Craig, CO 81625.