Obituary: Gilbert Washington Sr.

courtesy Washington Family
Sacha Smith | The Southern Ute Drum

Gilbert Washington Sr. was born March 7, 1930 in Ignacio, Colo. to Norman Whyte and Daisy T. Washington. He passed away at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, Colo. on Monday, July 27, 2015.

Gilbert was raised on his grandparents’ farm and ranch five miles north of Ignacio. He attended boarding school at Ute Vocational School as well as one year at Smiley Junior High in Durango. He enlisted with the U.S. Army on November 27, 1950, serving during the Korean War. Private Gilbert Washington Sr. served with the 157th Infantry, Heavy & Light Weapon Company Mortar Platoon, 23rd Regiment Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. During this time he received service awards of Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Good Conduct Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Korean Service Medal, Bronze Star, Republic of Korea Service, and Purple Heart Medal. Gilbert was honorably discharged August 1, 1954.

In 1958 Gilbert moved to Towaoc, Colo. where he married and also found a job on the Tribal Work Crew. He later found employment with the Ute Mountain Law Enforcement for seven years. Finally Gilbert found the job that the job that brought him the most satisfaction; he was employed at the alcoholism program coordinator, a job he held from 1974 until his retirement.

Gilbert held membership with the Ute Mountain American Legion Post #75 in Cortez, Armed Forces Military Assoc., Inter-Tribal Veterans Assoc., Military Order of Purple Heart of Colorado, Native American Veterans of Korean War & Vietnam, Ute Mountain Tribal Police Reserve Officer, American Law Enforcement Officer Assoc., Honorary Montezuma County Sheriffs Assoc., and Colorado State High School Rodeo Assoc.

Gilbert is survived by his children, Christopher Washington of Towaoc, John B. Washington and wife, Daleen, of Ignacio, Dennis Washington and wife, Jane, of Montrose, Clara Lucero and husband, Lloyd, of Ignacio, Gilbert Washington Jr. and wife, Penn of Albuquerque, N.M., and Tina King Washington, Jeannie Watts and husband, Ben, and Carl Hamlin and wife, Annabell, all of Towaoc; one sister Shirley Posey Esparza of Ignacio; numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren and extended family; and his dear friend, fellow Vietnam veteran and Sun Dancer, Bradley Hight.

Preceding Gilbert in death were his wives, Charlene King Washington and Nedra Thompson; and his parents, Norman Whyte and Daisy Washington Whyte.

Funeral services for Gilbert Washington Sr., a longtime resident of Towaoc, were held on Thursday, July 30 at Saint Ignatius Catholic Church in Ignacio. Interment followed at Ouray Cemetery in Ignacio. Rosary services were held Wednesday evening at Ertel Memorial Chapel.

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