Carl Gartrell

Obituary of Carl "Buzz" Gartrell

Biography Buzz Gartrell was born Carl Robert Gartrell, June 12, 1934, to Carl Wilson Gartrell and Grace Eileen Stewart-Gartrell in Denver, CO and brought home to their Parker farm. He was the second child and given the nickname of Buzz by his older sister, Doris, when he was only a baby and it stuck for life. He was raised on the family farm where they milked cows and farmed. However, he believed he was born a trucker because he started driving at the age of 12 hauling wheat from Parker to the Farmer’s Union Market in Denver and he was proud that he could drive on the dirt roads all the way. Buzz attended Parker School from the first grade through the 12th grade. He was in a small class of six boys and often joked that they were all too ornery to keep any girl longer than 3 months. He was competitive in sports and made All Tourney, All Conference and All State in Basketball. In fact, his senior year he held the record in the state of Colorado for the most points scored in a basketball game. He was also a baseball pitcher and loved the game. He always said he wanted to flunk his senior year of school so he could play sports one more year. After high school, he drove a milk truck, a school bus and had his first two children, Carl Robert Jr. (Flash) and Vernie Eileen. In 1953, he was a jockey for Alan Peterson and rode Little Beaver, the first Appaloosa race horse to run and win in the state of Colorado. He was paid $10 to place and $20 to win. His accomplishment was covered in the Appalosa Tribune by Phil Livingston, author of Warhorse. Life changed in September 1959 when he met Bonnie Lou Garlow at a Douglas County Fair Dance. It must have been love at first site because Buzz would drive from Parker to Denver every night to see Bonnie, then return home by 4 am to milk. One night he was on his way home, fell asleep and ended up in another farmer’s ditch. The next day he told Bonnie they needed to get married because he couldn’t keep driving back and forth to Denver. It was a Buzz style proposal and Bonnie accepted. They eloped to Raton, New Mexico on November 14, 1959 where they were married. Buzz was wearing a new pair of dress shoes and when the Justice of the Peace said, you may kiss the bride, Buzz said you kiss her because my feet are killing me. He moved the city girl to the country and into a home where they began raising his first two children together. They lived on the family farm for a year before they moved into Parker. There he drove a truck for McInster Truck Line. Carla Rae was born February 8, 1961, the same year they moved to Elbert, CO where he drove a truck for Elbert Transfer. June 17, 1962, Aaron Eugene was born, Buzz bought a truck and started his own business hauling hay and they moved back to Parker. He enjoyed owning his own business and learned of a truck line for sale in Idalia, CO, where his father had moved. It didn’t take much for Buzz to make the decision to buy the business. He moved his family to Idalia in 1964 and began operating Eastern Colorado Transportation, ECT. November 26, 1968 they welcomed their last child, Sheila Renee. He continued to truck and service all of Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas, hauling grain and cattle. He sold out the truck line and went to work for St. Francis Equity Co-Op in Idalia. He then transferred to the Stratton Co-Op where he used his best skill, the gift of gab, in his retail sales position. He moved on to become a grain buyer for Colorado Kansas and Cargill companies. He went back to work for the Co-Op in Idalia until he retired. Well, it didn’t take long for Buzz to realize that retirement wasn’t in his blood. I know Bonnie could have told him that and she says she was glad to see him go back to doing what he loved, driving truck. He started working for Cures and did that for the next 14 years. During his time in Idalia, he served on the Yuma County Fair Board, was the hog leader and a member of the Lion’s Club. Buzz and Bonnie sold the place in Idalia in 2004 and moved to Burlington. They bought their first fifth wheel and joined the Good Sam’s Club. Buzz continued to work for several farmers and companies. They would take short vacations with the camping club and would spend three months each winter in Yuma, AZ. He loved to play black jack and even bragged about sitting next to George Jones and Buzz claimed to be Willie Nelson’s brother while he wearing a hat with a silly pony tail wig sewn in. When he wasn’t driving a truck or camping, Buzz was known to be in the yard working. He was proud of the pristine yard he carefully manicured. Bonnie always said it was a testament to the farming skills he learned at a young age. The last six years were a bit challenging for Buzz as he suffered several brain bleeds, but each time he continued to fight and recover. About a month ago, he had the opportunity to drive a truck one last time and haul corn for Boyd’s Truck Line. He was excited that at the age of 81, someone would let him drive and that he could still work 12 hours a day outpacing many of the young guys. Wednesday, May 5th he suffered yet another brain bleed but he was not able to win this last fight. He passed away on Saturday, May 7th at St. Anthony’s Hospital with his children and several grandchildren by his side. Buzz was a caring man that was always considered to be the life of the party, and for him, every day was a party. He loved animals and children. In fact, he was fondly called Grandpa by so many kids because of the kind heart he extended. He was a seemingly ordinary man that has had an extraordinary impact on so many people. Buzz is survived by his wife, Bonnie, his sisters Doris and Suzy and brothers Lawrence and Mike. Children, Vernie and Terry Chapman, Carla and Bill Wolfe , Aaron and Penny Gartrell, Sheila Stewart and his grandchildren, Shawn, Shad, Shanna, Adam, Zeth, Nicholas, Dusty, Joseph, Amy, Tharin, Jason, Cari and his great grandchildren, Jaylin, Lane, Dustin Robert, Skyleigh, Avah, Alysa, Austen, Billi Grace, Shylee, Kayleigh, Hayden, and Mason. Preceded in death by his parents, Grace Eileen Gartrell and Carl Wilson Gartrell, his son, Carl Robert Gartrell Jr. (Flash) and his grandson, Daniel Ross Morris.
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