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10-12-2005, 01:23 PM
Joe Raymond (J.R.) Duran, was called home by Our Lord and Savior, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005 in Littleton, Colo. He was born March 16, 1930 in El Ojito, Colo. (near Hoehne) to Jose Emmitt Duran and Antonia Mestas.

He attended Hoehne High School and Trinidad State Junior College. He married Maria Lidia Medina on Nov. 3, 1951 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Together, they made a home and established Duran Oil Company and J.R.'s Fuel Stops. He was the co-founder of J.R.'s Country Stores.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War from 1949 - 1952, 24th Infantry Division, 34th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Field Artillery Battalion B Battery and suffered from a severe head wound. He was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery, 1 Bronze Camp Star, Korean Service Medal, Army of Occupation (Japan), Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and a Purple Heart for being wounded in action. He was also an honorary member of "Task Force Smith", the first wave of soldiers to battle in Korea. He worked at Couey Storage from 1952-1953. He earned a degree in auto mechanics from Trinidad Junior College 1953-1955. He worked for Rosen-Novak Ford in 1956, Sanders Skyline Service 1956-1957 and Continental Oil Company (Conoco) 1957-1977.

J.R.'s honesty, integrity and hard work was the foundation to starting his companies. Today Duran Oil Company and J.R.'s Fuel Stops employs 185 people in nine different cities located in Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma. His employees were an extension of his family and he would do everything in his power to help them. His sense of humor was endless with everyone. His employees have said of J.R. and his wife that they were the nicest people they had ever met. J.R. and Lidia promoted Trinidad, Las Animas County and the surrounding area on a daily basis as a great place to live. J.R. spread the word about Trinidad and the area he loved not only in the United States but also abroad. He will be remembered for helping many people including complete strangers. Being a humble man, he never spoke of the many compliments he received from people. He didn't look for praise, recognition or expect anything in return. He felt contributing back to his community was his duty and a privilege.
He founded the Korean War Veterans Southern Colorado Chapter with the help of area veterans. J.R. lost many friends from Las Animas and Huerfano counties during the Korean War and wanted to honor their sacrifice with a memorial. After a lot of hard work, the Korean Memorial came to fruition and now stands at the Colorado Visitors Center. He also spearheaded the Coal Miners' Memorial in downtown Trinidad to honor the local coal miners and their families. J.R. always said the coal miners helped make the area unique and special and they deserved recognition.

In J.R.'s spare time he enjoyed ranching, tending to his horses and cattle. When he wasn't busy doing that he was irrigating, raising and bailing hay on his farms while attending to all other issues that a farmer is confronted with.

He was a member of the following organizations: Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers, Fisher's Peak Volunteer Fire Department, Trinidad Historical Society, Southern Colorado Korean War Veterans, North American Truck Stop Association, Trinidad Riding Club, Trinidad Round-Up Association, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion Post 11, VFW Post 984, Las Animas County Planning Commission. He was also the founder, first president and board member of the Trinidad-Las Animas County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He was Grand Marshall of the Trinidad Labor Day Parade and also the Trinidad Parade of Lights.

He was a dedicated husband, a wonderful father and grandfather and an honest family man. He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife, his brothers Jose Florencio and John Emmitt Duran.

He is survived by his children: Veronica (Joaquin) Rivera, Pueblo, Bernadette Duran, Trinidad, Ray (Christina) Duran, Trinidad and Corinne Duran (Fritz) Abeyta, Littleton; grandchildren Teresa Rivera, Lucita Rivera, Carson Ortega, Steven Ortega Jr., Brett Duran, Chelsea Duran, Bethany Duran, Chanel Duran, KylieRae Duran, Brittany Duran-Abeyta, Jayden Duran-Abeyta; great grandchildren Nicholas Ortega, Kayleen Ortega, Riley Ortega, newborn Jamison Ortega; brother Max Duran, Trinidad, sisters Dolores (Herman) Sanchez, Pueblo, Virginia (Tom) Valdez, Mountainaire, N.M.; sisters-in-law Corinne Arguello and Sue (Lee) Lucero, all of Pueblo, brothers-in-law Greg (Dolores) Medina, Trinidad and Piedad (Henrietta) Medina, Pueblo; and many members of his large extended family. Special friends Judie Matticks, Felix Chavez and especially Jim Mangino and his family for the donation of Jim's kidney to extend the life of this extraordinary man.

Honorary pallbearers are Leandro Lucero, Ron Sanchez, Mickey Montoya, Felix Chavez, Jim Mangino, Orlando Baca and George Mondragon, all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be Thursday, Oct. 6, 2005 from 2-7 p.m. Rosary will follow at 7 p.m. at the Mullare-Murphy Funeral Home.
Military burial will be held Friday, Oct. 7, 2005 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church at 10 a.m. with Father Bob Hagan, S.J. as the celebrant. Burial will follow at Trinidad Catholic Cemetery. After the service the family may be contacted at St. Joseph hall.
Donations may be made to the J.R. Duran Diabetes Memorial Fund, in care of Bank of the West, located at 125 North Commercial Street, Trinidad, CO.

The family has entrusted the Mullare-Murphy Funeral Home with the arrangements.

A video memorial tribute may be viewed on Thursday, Oct. 6 on local cable channel 71 at 8:00-8:30 a.m., 12:30-1:00 p.m., and the rosary may be heard live at 7:00 along with the presentation memorial tribute.