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Bruce Mitchell Muirhead

Bruce Muirhead of Pagosa Springs passed away peacefully at his home on Aug. 20, 2009, following a courageous battle with lymphoma.

Bruce was born in Plato Center, Ill., on May 15, 1920. He was educated in the Plato public schools and at St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield Wisc., where he earned his diploma in 1937. Enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1942, he received his wings and was commissioned in August 1943. He and Mary Walquist were married Sept. 5, 1943. He began combat as a B-17 command pilot on May 1, 1944 and flew 30 missions over Europe, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. Following his service to his country, he enrolled at the University of Illinois and earned a degree in accounting, while supporting his wife and family. Later, he served his country again for 21 months during the Korean conflict. Most of his working career was spent as finance manager of the Physical Plant and Construction Department at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Bruce and Mary were charter members of Mountain View Methodist Church, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Upon retirement in 1980, he and Mary made Pagosa Springs their residence for the remainder of their lives.

Music was a huge part of Bruce’s life, and he shared his talent in church and community choirs. He also played his cornet from the time he was 10 years old, participating in school and community bands. Other interests included swimming, diving, bicycling, and travel with Mary. He and Mary built an experimental aircraft while in Boulder, and they enjoyed trips together in the Vari-Eze. In Pagosa, Bruce was a member of the Community United Methodist Church, the Silver Foxes Den, the Music Boosters and the community choir. He and Mary participated for many years in Senior Olympics. In 1994, Bruce co-founded the Archuleta County chapter of Habitat for Humanity, served as its first president in 1994-95, and was awarded the Archuleta County Board of Realtors “Citizen of the Year” award in 1995.

Bruce is predeceased by his parents, George and Blanche Muirhead; his brother, George Muirhead; his sister, Dorothy Fitchie; his beloved wife of nearly 60 years, Mary; and his grandson, John Wheeler.

He is survived by his sons, Barry (Lynne) of Crested Butte, Colo., and George (Linda) of Pagosa Springs, as well as his daughter Joanne (Bill) Wheeler of Crested Butte. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

According to his wishes, cremation has taken place, and the memorial service will be postponed until the remodel of Community United Methodist Church in Pagosa Springs is completed. Inurnment will be in the family plot in Plato Center, Ill. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the CUMC building fund — PO Box 300, Pagosa Springs CO 81147.

Bruce will be dearly missed by his family, friends and the community of Pagosa Springs.