Willard H. Seibel, 91, passed away May 8, 2011, at his home in Arboles. A private service honoring him is planned at the family cemetery. The community is invited to join Willard’s family in an open house remembrance gathering to be held at Los Pinos Fire Station No. 5 in Arboles, Colo., on Saturday May 14, 2011, between 2-4 p.m.
Mr. Seibel, the oldest of four sons, was born April 3, 1920, to Milton and Bessie Seibel who homesteaded in the Upper Piedra area near Pagosa Springs in 1919. In 1935 when Willard was a teen, the family moved to the Arboles area to farm. He graduated from Pagosa High School in 1939.
He and Betty Cox married in 1944. Willard was known for his ingenuity and resourcefulness and Betty fondly recalls a time when these traits were demonstrated early on. Severe weather and seemingly impassable roads between Arboles and Allison proved no deterrent for young Willard as he “came a courtin” his bride-to-be on his John Deere tractor. After marrying they spent a short time in California working in an airplane factory during the war. They returned to Colorado and acquired their own farm in Arboles in 1947, where they raised their family.
Mr. Seibel had a deep love for his family and served his community in various ways throughout his life. A longtime member of the Ignacio School Board, he also was a member of the board of directors for the Pine River Canal, the Basin Co-op and Monte Vista PCA. In addition to their farming and ranching, Willard and Betty operated the Marina at Navajo Lake, and The Piñon Hills motel and cafe in Arboles.
He was preceded in death by two brothers, Edward and Glen, and his grandson and hunting buddy Darren McDonald. He is survived by his wife, Betty, children: Judy McDonald of Arboles, Harold Seibel of Ignacio, Kenneth Seibel of Arboles, Karen Erspamer of Zionsville, Ind., Marilyn Warren of Buena Vista, brother Don Seibel of Aztec, N.M., 12 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, all who love and miss him dearly.