LeRoy Howard Self passed away Friday August 25th at his home, at 89 years old, from complications of congestive heart failure.
LeRoy was born January 23, 1934, to Howard C Self and Florence M. (Rea) Self at the Self Ranch in Falfa, Colorado. He dropped out of high school after completing the 10th grade so he could join the military and enlisted in the US Army’s first armored division serving as a medic in Swinefort, Germany during the Korean conflict. While in Germany LeRoy met his wife of 67 years Gisela Lourke Self. After being honorably discharged in 1955 LeRoy began working for Scott Drilling company in Oklahoma as a driller’s helper and later with his brother Ivan in construction in and around Pagosa Springs. Then he found work around Tularosa, New Mexico operating heavy equipment in the uranium mines. LeRoy received a free physical each year after that and was sent a letter just a couple years back that indicated he was one of the few men who had worked there that had not already died of cancer. LeRoy was never diagnosed with any cancer. Upon completion of the uranium work LeRoy applied for a job with the federal government as a heavy equipment operator and soon landed a job teaching Job Corps a federal government program that taught under privileged city kids how to run heavy equipment. The facility was north of Gallup, New Mexico at Mexican Springs. When the Job Corps program was officially ended, LeRoy got a job with the US Forest Service running heavy equipment and learned how to use explosives, moving up through the ranks to become a supervisor and in charge of trails, roads, construction, and the vehicle fleet finally retiring in 1987. Despite not completing high school, LeRoy exceled at a job most often held by individuals with engineering degrees. He taught and certified trainees in dynamite blasting in Denver for many years. LeRoy retired back on his family ranch and along with Gisela began raising a few cattle and sold firewood while clearing sage brush and overgrowth and planting acres of grass. Using his experience with the Forest Service fighting summer fires LeRoy and Gisela cleared many acres on his ranch and has forever left his mark on the Self Ranch now located south of Allison, Colorado and by the Navajo lake in New Mexico. During retirement LeRoy would do part time jobs with Helmur Corporation and Hocker construction doing oilfield construction jobs.
LeRoy enjoyed Navajo Lake and spent many hours on his boat fishing and taking his family water skiing and camping for as many weekends as he could spare. He was a great horseman and packed into the San Juan mountains camped for days while inspecting and building trails for the Forest Service.
LeRoy is survived by his daughter, Dione Lee (husband, Tom Lee) and son, Howard Self (wife, Robyn Self) as well as four grandchildren, Cody Self (wife, Vanessa), Kenny Lee (wife, Lissa), Brittainy Garro (husband, Nick) and Ashley Self and 7 great grandchildren. He is proceeded in death by his beloved wife, Gisela and their son Charles Roy Self, brothers Ivan Self, Charles D Self and Sisters Rose Smith and Elaine Palmer Gold.
Per his request, a family memorial will be held in the spring at the family ranch.