George and Lorna Means
George and Lorna Means may call sunny Mesa, Ariz., their home, but their love for Gunnison’s high country tugs at their hearts.
George, a third generation rancher in the Gunnison Valley, raised high-quality, high-altitude Hereford cattle with his father, brother and son on the same ranch that his grandfather started well over 100 years ago. Ranching at the base of Monarch Pass presented splendors and challenges, all depending on the mood of Mother Nature. This remote area saw an overwhelming amount of snowfall – so much so that at times George’s family depended upon the mailman to bring them perishable supplies. There was no access out except by horses on packed trails. But it didn’t deter the Means.
“We never thought a thing about it,“ George said. “It was just the way things were.”
He attended Whitepine School District #9, a classroom remodeled from an old bunkhouse. George remembers riding horseback to school, checking his traps along the way. To attend high school in Gunnison, George made the 80-mile round trip each day.
George was a member of the very first 4-H club in the Gunnison Valley, later serving as a 4-H leader with the local Hereford club. He also served on the Gunnison County School Board, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Gunnison Soil Conservation Board. He was elected as county commissioner for nine years and is a lifetime member of the Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association.
After his ranching career, George relocated to Montrose, Colo., a milder climate to continue his passion for photography and the great outdoors. It was there, five years ago, that he met and married Lorna. Born in South Dakota, Lorna and her family moved to Colorado when she was four years old. Her father and brother worked for the Colorado Rancher & Farmer magazine. Lorna’s hobbies include swimming, reading and cooking.
These days the couple enjoys traveling and visiting their well-extended family. George’s son and his wife continue the ranching legacy, running a cow/calf operation east of Gunnison. George and Lorna plan to return to Gunnison’s high country this July to celebrate the annual Cattlemen’s Days celebration and its salute to the agricultural industry.
Don and Shirley Woodbury
Over six decades ago, Don Woodbury and Shirley Field met in Denver, he a pilot for the U.S. Marine Corps, she a journalist for an agricultural journal. After a few false starts in their wedding plans, the couple finally tied the knot at the local Elks Lodge, since the church was being painted and the invitations were already in the mail.
A life-long resident of the area, Shirley grew up on two ranches east of town, walking or riding her horse to the Doyleville schoolhouse three miles away until 7th grade, when her parents Tom and Sue Field bought the ranch to become known as Field Land and Cattle. She was used to the saddle and agricultural workload, often helping out at home with the Hereford operation. She drove a team in the hayfields. A member of the first 4-H club, she continued to participate, raising cattle and horses and learning to cook.
Shirley was a 4-H leader, past president of Gunnison Valley Cattlewomen’s Association, Gunnison Country Association of Realtors and Past Matron of Eastern Star. She also served as secretary for the Cattlemen’s Days racing committee. She later earned a real estate broker license. She started two realty agencies, including Quality Realty & Mgmt, which she still operates.
Don grew up in rural Nebraska. His skills as a pilot (he earned his first license at the age of 16) evolved into military service where he flew bombers and fighters over the Pacific during WWII and the Korean War for the USMC. After he and Shirley married, the couple returned to Gunnison to help operate the ranch.
Later they sold their share of the ranch, and Don worked for several different companies, also serving as Gunnison County Assessor. He belonged to both the Cattlemen’s Days Committee and the Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association. He was chairman of the racing committee for several years. He is past president of the Colorado Assessors’ Association and is a member of the Masonic and Elk Lodges.
The couple have three children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Their son and grandson continue the flying tradition, making three generations of pilots in the Woodbury family.