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1/31/2013 Services are today for George C. Draper, 86

Memorial services are being held this afternoon in Canon City for Wetmore rancher and long-time Custer County Commissioner George Calvin Draper.

Mr. Draper died Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 at a Denver hospital as a result of a stroke. He was 86.

He was born Nov. 18, 1926 in Pueblo to James Louis and Ethel (Sweeten) Draper.

Mr. Draper lived with his family at the Hatchet Ranch south of Pueblo until he was four years old, when the family moved to the ranch in Wetmore where he lived the rest of his life. Mr. Draper’s father purchased the Wetmore ranch with his partner, Jack Everhart, in 1930.

Mr. Draper’s great grandparents, Civil War veteran George Washington and Mary Ann (Moxley) Heath came to Colorado from Missouri by wagon train in 1872 and for a time lived in a cave on the current Draper Ranch. That cave was the focus of an important archaeological study in the 1980s, and it remains listed in the Smithsonian Institute as the “Draper Dig.” A number of prehistoric artifacts were discovered, including a nearby Ute burial site.

Mr. Draper was a 1944 graduate of Florence High School. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1945 through 1947, and attended radio mechanic school at Scott Field in Illinois and Langley Field in Virginia. He later served in the Air Force Reserves.

Mr. Draper enjoyed hunting, skiing and flying, and was active in rodeos and team roping competitions. He was a past member of the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Assn., the Colorado Cowboys Rodeo Assn., the Southern Colorado Horseman’s Assn., the United States Team Roping Championships, and the National Senior Pro Rodeo Assn.

He served as a 4-H leader for 20 years, and on three occasions served as a judge for the Miss Rodeo America Pageant.

He was instrumental in the Colorado movie industry, particularly in the many movie productions filmed in Fremont and Custer counties. He served as a wrangler, a double and a location scout for more than 20 motion pictures, beginning with Vengeance Valley which was filmed here in 1951. Other movies that he was involved in included The Outcast (1952), Saddle the Wind (1958), Cat Ballou (1976), The Cowboys(1971), Comes A Horseman (1977), How the West Was Won (1977), and True Grit and the Sacketts (1978).

Mr. Draper served as a Democrat County Commissioner for five terms, from 1972 through 1992. He also served for 13 years on the board of the San Isabel Electric Assn.

On Dec. 27, 1945 he married Leona Sullivan, and they recently celebrated their 67th anniversary.

She survives, as do a son and a daughter: Walter Louis “Buddy” (and wife, Jerry) Draper of Wetmore; and Peggy (Mrs. Fred) Davis of Tombstone, Ariz.

Also surviving are four grandchildren: Wade Louis (and wife, Jan) Draper, and Chad Merrill (and wife, Christy) Draper, all of Wetmore; and Marlo Davis (Mrs. Beau) Compton and Jared Scott Davis, all of Tombstone, Ariz.

Other survivors include seven great grandchildren: Zane and Macy Compton, both of Tombstone; and Lexie, Mason and Trey Draper, and Chisum and Avery Draper, all of Wetmore.

Memorial services are being held today, Thursday, Jan. 31, at 2 p.m. at the Abbey Events Center at 2951 E. Highway 50 in Canon City.

Those wishing may make memorial contributions to the Alzheimer’s Foundation at: www.alzfdn.org.