Silverton resident Charles Bernard Spear died in Durango on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. He was 51.
Known as “Bernie,” he was born to Robert B. and Dorothy Spear in Denver on Oct. 8, 1957. He was a life-long resident of Colorado.
He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when he was 17, and he died from complications of the disease.
In 1979, he moved to Silverton.
He served as a judge for the Hardrockers celebration, and, in 1997, joined the Silverton Volunteer Fire Department.
“His wry smile and mischievous, twinkly eyes greeted people most recently at the Pickle Barrel and the Prospector Motel,” his family wrote.
He loved his dogs, the mountains, music, Civil War history, the Broncos, North Carolina basketball, the Rockies, Budweiser and his Jeeps, his family said.
Mr. Spear is survived by his brothers Barry Spear of Durango, Brink Spear of Colorado Springs and Bert Spear of Redding, Calif.; an aunt; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and -nephews and cousins.
A memorial service was held at noon Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009, at Memorial Park in Silverton.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Silverton Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 532, Silverton, CO 81433.
Silverton Fire Chief Gilbert Archuleta said Bernie moved to Silverton in 1979, and joined the fire department on Oct. 14, 1997.
“He gave a lot,” Archuleta said, becoming a good pump operator.
“We’d get to a fire scene and once he got there he’d take over the pump,” Archuleta said. “He was good for the fire department and good for the community.”
Achuleta said Bernie’s dad was basketball coach at the Air Force Academy and Bernie learned to love sports.
He coached pee wee basketball in Silverton, and Archuleta said he loved to go four wheeling.
“His favorite place for four wheeling was Beartown,” Archuleta said.
Paul Zimmerman, owner of the Pickle Barrel restaurant, where Bernie worked for the last four years, said Bernie was “a great guy, already sorely missed.”
“He would show up and do his job no matter what,” Zimmerman said. “A lot of days you could see he was in pain. But he loved contributing and having a job and something to do.
“Bernie was definitely an interesting character of Silverton,” Zimmerman said.