John L. Applegate, 83, passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 20, surrounded by loved ones in his home in Prescott, Ariz. He was born in St. Louis, Mo., on July 8, 1937, to the late Bennett and Lucille Applegate. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a chemical engineering degree and a master’s in business administration. After a stint in the Army Chemical Corp, where he received a glowing Certificate of Achievement as a First Lieutenant, he ended up in Chicago, Ill., with a lengthy career at Amoco Oil.
He met his loving wife, Sandy Kolton, in 1985 while leading cross-country ski trips in Michigan for the Chicago area Sierra Club. They were best friends and true soul mates. After that winter ski trip, they were never apart and spent many weekends throughout the years cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, bicycling, canoeing and backpacking together or with friends.
Once his son, Michael, was married in France, John and Sandy took many trips to Europe, hiking the mountains and exploring the history of France, Italy, Spain and England.
After retirement in 1995, they moved to Pagosa Springs, Colo. In Pagosa, he continued his weekly backpack trips on the Continental Divide Trail and other mountain ranges (about 35 years of backpacking trips in the mountains). He worked on building and maintaining trails in the national forest and built two huts to add to a hut-to-hut trail system. After 24 wonderful years in Pagosa, they moved to Arizona for health reasons.
John is survived by his two sons, Thomas and Michael, and his grandchildren, Alexandre, Augustin, Lucille and Ava.
A funeral service will be held in St. Louis on July 8.
A celebration of his life will be held in Pagosa Springs near the end of July.