Longtime Routt County resident Howard Kirby passed away June 12, 2007, surrounded by his family at Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs. He was 90.
Howard was born and raised on the family ranch on Red Dirt near Toponas. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 1940 and served with the 1st Calvary Division in World War II. After training in El Paso, Texas, he was sent to the Pacific Theater, where he remained until he was discharged in August 1945. After returning home, he spent some time helping his brother on the family ranch.
On June 8, 1948, he married Ramona Kayser. For a number of years, he worked for Earl Ray at his sawmill. After working at the sawmill, he worked on a couple of ranches for several years. He then decided to do construction and carpentry work. He and Larry Kier, along with Larry's dad, did the reconstruction of the large water wheel on the Colorado River south of McCoy. He worked on several remodeling jobs around McCoy and later worked on the Inn at Thunderhead, which was the first building built on the mountain in Steamboat. Retiring from carpentry, he spent five years driving the night snowplow from Yampa on Colorado highways 131 and 134.
The next few years were spent building his nephew's home and remodeling his own. This kept him busy until his health declined.
He is preceded in death by a daughter and two sons.
Howard leaves behind his wife of 59 years, Ramona; sons Randy, Kerry and his wife, Valerie, and Loren and his wife, Lisa; two daughters, Coleen and her husband, Jocko, and Floy and her husband, Tony; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two brothers; and a number of nieces and nephews also will miss him.