Al (Elwyn) Wehe (86), joined loved ones in heaven on April 17, 2017. We will miss his quick wit, blue eyes, hugs and beautiful smile. Al was born on May 2,1930 in Smith Center, Kansas, where he learned to play football, tease his two sisters, Elizabeth and Moyne (deceased), farm, and raise livestock. He met Virginia Ann Tessler (Wehe) at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. He was in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and she was a Tri-Delta. One night they were at a dance and it snowed two feet. Always chivalrous, Al carried Virginia home in two feet of snow and she didn’t see him for two weeks because he had pneumonia. The rest was history, as they married on August 27, 1950 and have been best friends for 67 years.
After their marriage, they purchased the Blanca Telephone Company and Al grew a family business that encompasses television, internet, telephone and cellular. While the family lived in Blanca, Al served as mayor and was instrumental in getting water and sewer to Blanca. Al moved the telephone office and family to Alamosa in 1971. He spent days (and many nights) driving around fixing telephones with his best friend Kay Shioshita. He climbed cell phone towers until he was 80 years old and went house to house marketing the company until they moved to San Diego permanently in 2014.
Al lived life LARGE! When he wasn’t running the phone company, he learned to be a pilot, got a degree at Adams State University, attended DU / Iliff School of Theology in Denver, and Thomas Jefferson Law School in San Diego. A few months ago, he said “I’ve been so lucky, I was able to do everything I wanted to!” Al was a lifelong learner and encouraged his children and grandchildren to follow their dreams, work hard, be kind, save more than you spend, and always show up 10 minutes early.
Al authored his memoirs in “Papa’s Journey,” where he writes, “Every day of my life someone has been there with a helping hand.” Al took this to heart and in turn, he and Virginia gave back and helped others in so many ways. He loved the San Luis Valley and helped individuals with his time and kindness. Many organizations are dear to their hearts, including Tu Casa, the SLV Boys and Girls Club, education and healthcare.
Al was a member and past-President of the Colorado Independent Telephone Association. He was very active in the local business community and spent many hours attending and serving as a Rotarian (Paul Harris Fellow), helping plan and participate in community activities and attending the United Methodist Church.
Besides being with Virginia, Al’s favorite time was spent with his four children, Alan Wehe (Sandie), Helen Johnson (Jim), David Wehe (Donna) and Anne Wehe. They spent winters in San Diego to be with Anne and her children and the spring and summers in Alamosa to be close to David, Alan, Helen and their families.
Al was fearless and rode every roller-coaster his grandkids wanted to go on. He learned to roller blade when he was in his seventies and would skate five miles around Miramar Lake, CA on a regular basis. He taught the family how to use duct tape, baling wire and WD-40 to fix just about anything, how to talk to strangers and make them smile and how to laugh when life got hard. Al joins Anne’s son, Trevor, in Heaven and is survived by Christopher (C.J.) and Megan Johnson (Helen); Josh, Jordan, Jonny and James Wehe (Alan); Ryan and Hayden Wehe (David); and Cody and Weston White (Anne). He also leaves behind three great grandchildren, Jayden, and twins Sophia and Madison (C.J. and Scham Johnson). This last month he met the twins for the first time and stared at them with awe, wonder and love.
Al loved college so much, that he returns for a final time, as his body was donated to the University of California, San Diego.
In lieu of flowers and cards, please donate to the Boys & Girls Clubs of SLV, P.O. Box 1032, Alamosa, CO 81101. Tele: 719-589-5252. Al would love for all of you to visit their Dome and see the children learning how to raise their own food, create healthy snacks, and sell what they’ve grown at the Farmer’s Market.