MONTE VISTA — Aaron Turner, 36, of rural Monte Vista passed away at Kindred Hospital in Denver on Nov. 21st after losing his battle with chronic illnesses.
He leaves behind his mother and father Charles and Barbara Wagner with whom he resided, son Elijah (Eli) Kuntz of Durango, grandmother Jane Wagner of Monte Vista, foster brother Travis Minear of Granby, soul brother Lael Shaw; seven great aunts and uncles including Gladys Miller of Cheraw; aunts Syble Blocker of Salesville, Ark., Nettie Morley of Cheraw, Martha (Ron) Sales of la Junta, Nancy (Gene) Leonardson of Kenmore, Wash.; cousins John Fazekas (Diane) of Colorado Springs, Christina (Ray) Johnson of Las Animas and Crystal Pemberton (Terry) of Las Animas; mentor Melvin Headrick of La Junta, and numerous close friends.
He was preceded in death by maternal grandmother Florence Hunter-Burns of Las Animas, love of his life Amy Klees of Durango, cousins Jim Sales of Rifle and Bruce Bickel of Mountain Home, Ark., and uncle Darrell Hunter of La Junta.
He began his cooking career in Winter Park and Durango. While working as a chef at Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., in 2004, he suffered a heart attack. In March 2008 he had an experimental heart assist pump implanted in his chest. He struggled with chronic pain and infections, recently suffering multiple strokes and failing kidneys. He amazed doctors and served as a physical and spiritual inspiration to those around him. Friends started teasing him about having 29 lives.
His passion was cooking and riding dirt bikes, motorcycles and ATVs. He also enjoyed pets, shooting pool, old cars and trucks, Johnny Cash, art, gardening, camping, fishing, target practice and reading. Nature’s grandeur was special to him, and he liked gazing at the night sky and watching sunsets. He seldom met a stranger and, above all, cherished family and friends.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on December 8 at Winter Park Christian Center in Tabernash and at Valley Church of the Nazarene (VCN) at 11 a.m. on December 17 in Monte Vista. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, c/o VCN, P.O. Box 271 Monte Vista 81144.