Former Steamboat Springs resident Irvin E. Duley, a retired Amtrak conductor, died at his home Dec. 21, 2006, from heart failure. He was 90.
He was born Nov. 12, 1916, and raised in Baltimore, Md. Irvin was the son of Emma and Edwin Duley and brother to Edwin, Leon, John, Margaret, Helen, Melvin, Doris and Charles. Helen is his sole surviving sibling.
Irvin graduated from City College in 1935 and married Margaret Ackenback in 1936. They had seven children, Barbara Langrehr, Richard, Tom, Jean Klein, Bob, Anne Small and Bill. Margaret died in 2001, just three weeks shy of their 65th wedding anniversary. During the last few years, Irvin wrote letters to all the great-grandchildren about his boyhood years and encouraged them to write back. Irvin always had a story to tell (some were pretty tall tales) or a moral to teach.
Irvin's father and brothers were all railroad men. During his 30-year career, he worked the route between Washington, D.C., and New York City.
He saw the Pennsylvania Railroad evolve to the Penn-Central and eventually to Amtrak. He met many celebrities through the years, but his most memorable were Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. He often held court telling the story of how he had to inform Mrs. Roosevelt that she was on the wrong train and would have to be re-routed to Chicago upon arrival in Boston. He recalled that she was most gracious and good-natured.
After Margaret's death, Irvin closed up his apartment and moved to Colorado, where he lived for a time with daughters, Jean in Colorado Springs and Anne in Steamboat Springs. Never satisfied to be idle, Irvin found jobs each day, whether it was pruning trees, organizing garages, landscape work, painting or whatever needed to be done. After the first cold winter, spring took him to North Carolina to spend time with Richard in his woodworking shop, then up to Virginia to help finish building a house for Barbara, and finally to Baltimore to chop down the woods behind Bob's house. He also visited Bill in Idaho and, of course, helped with the landscaping there. You may have seen him cleaning and gardening at Doc's Auto Clinic and wondered how could Doc (Brian) make that old man work so hard. Irvin was a man who lived to help others, especially his family.
Irvin returned to Colorado and resided at Cheyenne Place Retirement Community in Colorado Springs for a year before illness caused him to move in with Jean and Joel, who lovingly cared for him until his death. We shall miss him dearly.
He is preceded in death by his wife in 2001; and son, Tom, in 2002.
He is survived by children, Barbara Langrehr and her husband, Paul; Richard and his wife, Fran; Jean Klein and her husband, Joel; Bob and his wife, Sandy; Anne Small and her husband, Brian; and Bill and his wife, Lana; 16 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren, all of whom adored their Pop-Pop and Pop-Pop-Pop.
A memorial will be held in Richmond, Va., in the spring.