Just Call Me “JR”
Thaddeus Munford Wamsley Jr., 81, of Vona, Colorado passed away peacefully with his family by his side, on February 6, 2019, after battling Alzheimer’s disease. He will be deeply missed by his loved ones including his devoted wife, Joyce.
Thaddeus was born June 21, 1937 to Thaddeus Wamsley, Sr. and Mable (Amen) Wamsley in El Dorado, Kansas. He was then and always known as “Jr.”. However, brother, Marion Wamsley, sisters, Velna Wamsley, Lorretta (Wamsley) Dunlop, and half-brother Max Wamsley referred to him as “Buddy. Eventually his family settled onto their homestead north of Arapahoe Colorado, now referred to as “Green Acres”. This is where he discovered his love for farming and ranching. He was baptized October 9, 1951 in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. He attended school and graduated in 1955 at Arapahoe High School where he loved playing basketball. He played basketball in college and passed his passion of the game onto his kids and grandkids. He participated in continued education in the fields of agriculture, electricity, emergency response, and Department of Corrections.
JR was married to his first wife Sandra Gronorio. They were blessed with two children, Bryan Wamsley and Carolyn (Wamsley) Gerstner. Later, he was united in marriage to Joyce (Cameron) Wamsley and extended his love to her children, Denise Durr, Karen (Durr) Kendrick, and Dennis Durr. Together, Jr. and Joyce added to their family, Debbie Wamsley and Joan (Wamsley) Swanson. JR taught his family the importance of a good work ethic as well as an appreciation of Colorado’s beauty, especially golden wheat fields, green pastures, and the relaxing mountains. He emphasized farm safety, quality care of livestock, and keeping a clean farm. Changing a tire and changing the oil were important lessons he required his kids to learn. He enjoyed and attended various sporting events of his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. He would frequently call his children with the greeting, “This is your father”, to find out how things were going. He loved and took advantage of every opportunity to tease his family, especially the grandchildren. His kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids will always remember the treasured gift he would hand out every Christmas; a brown paper bag filled with candies, fruit, nuts and possibly his favorite, candied orange slices.
Years ago, JR and Joyce shared a love of square dancing, where he could be heard calling the dances. They were also seen taking drives to town which might include a stop at Burger King for a quick bite and his favorite, a strawberry shake. They loved going to the mountains for a get-away which included fishing and camping at their mountain property. They most enjoyed visiting with the grandchildren and going on their yearly Christmas present shopping trip.
He enjoyed serving his community, which included the Co-op board and working with the Soil Conservation District. Anytime you wanted to discuss the weather, JR would be the guys to talk to. He even reported to the National Weather Service as a weather spotter. JR was proud to be affiliated with the Department of Corrections. At first, he participated in building the Limon Prison and later worked at the Burlington Prison as a guard and supervisor of ground maintenance.
JR’s biggest passion was farming and ranching. He beamed when showing off his farm and ranch to anyone who would take a drive with him. Some of his happiest days were the kick-off of harvest, bringing a high price for his cattle, and branding day with his children and grandchildren. If there were any complaints about the smell, he would say, “Smells like money”.
JR’s cowboy voice, leathered hands, blue eyes, contagious smile and loving heart will be missed by his wife Joyce (Cameron) Wamsley, sister, Lorretta (Chuck) Dunlap, sons, Bryan Wamsley and Dennis Durr, Daughters, Denise Durr, Karen (Lee) Kendrick, Carolyn (Barry) Gerstner, Debbie (Steve) Wamsley, and Joan (Mitch) Swanson, 15 grandchildren and 10 Great-Grandchildren and one on the way, along with nieces, nephews, in-laws, neighbors and friends.
He was preceeded in death by his father, Thaddeus Wamsley, Sr. , his mother, Mable (Amen) Wamsley, brothers, Max Wamsley and Marion Wamsley, and sister, Velna Wamsley.
To continue Jr.’s support of his grandchildren, in lieu of flowers, a memorial donation can be made to the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado (www.epilepsycolorado.org) in Thaddeus’s memory. Donations can also be left or sent to Love Funeral Home, 377 15th Street, Burlington, CO 80807.