courtesy of Don Reichert The 30th Reunion Celebration of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Alumni (NIRAA) was held at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center, […]
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Tribute to Joe Forney
courtesy of Barbara Jolly
Joseph Wayne Forney of Franktown died peacefully on Thursday morning, March 17, 2016, at the age of 88.
Mr. Forney was born March 30, 1927, in Albuquerque, N.M. He attended Saint Mary’s High School in Colorado Springs but departed shortly before graduation and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in early 1945. He served in World War II in the Pacific Theater at HQ Mariana Islands in Guam and was honorably discharged in 1946. After World War II, Joe attended Colorado A&M, where he met his wife, Virginia Holmes. While active in a number of organizations there, he was especially proud of being a founding member of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association in 1949. In December 1949, he graduated with a degree in animal husbandry, and he and Virginia were married at Saint Mary’s Church in Colorado Springs in January 1950.
Joe’s career began in San Luis, Colo., with the Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Home Administration. After a short assignment in Trinidad, he and his family moved to Greeley in February 1957, where he became active in Saint Peter’s Church and later in Saint Mary’s Church. His five children graduated from University High School.
After receiving a Department of Agriculture Superior Service Award in 1960, Joe joined John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance as an agricultural investment officer in 1961. He served in this capacity in Weld County until 1980 and was a good friend to many farmers and ranchers, not only in Weld County and northern Colorado, but throughout Colorado and the surrounding area. Joe assumed regional responsibilities for John Hancock in 1981 when he and his wife moved to Franktown. The highlight of his career was managing the 87,000-acre Chico Basin Ranch southeast of Colorado Springs, a part of which had been homesteaded by his wife’s family as the HOP Ranch beginning in 1871.
A cowboy at heart, Joe certainly built his fair share of fence. A member of the Colorado Livestock Association, he and his wife were horse enthusiasts and owned several Quarter Horses over the years. As an avid outdoorsman, he was a seasoned hunter and angler who carried his interest of the outdoors into photography. He had a great love for carpentry, wood-working and leathercraft.
A kind and devoted family man, Joe never had a shortage of great ideas for good family recreation. In earlier years, there were numerous boating, hunting, fishing, camping and vacation excursions. There were rodeos, stock shows, horse racing, and large family cookouts. Joe took a keen interest in his children’s lives – their schoolwork, extracurricular activities and their personal interests. He was square as a die, and he could be counted on to be there.
Joe is survived by his wife, Virginia; children, J. Michael (Annette) of Castle Rock, W. Mark of Greeley, Virginia (J. David Hause) of Castle Rock, Jean (Thomas Gergens) of Amarillo, Texas, and David (Gina) of Bethesda, Md.; 10 grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his father, Ernest Wayne; and mother, Rosavia Grace.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Hospice of Northern Colorado.