William W. Slemmer
d. June 23, 2015
William W. Slemmer, a 24-year resident of north Log Hill Mesa in Ouray County, died suddenly on June 23, 2015, on a family vacation in Moab. Bill had discovered Ouray in 1973 on his way back to Colorado after being discharged from the army at Fort Hood, Texas. He rent- ed a room in the St. Elmo Hotel and stayed all winter, beginning a 43-year-long affair with the town and the San Juans.
Bill was lucky to find a job with the National Park Service, which led to a career as a contracting officer for the NPS national planning, design, and construction office in Denver. However, he always brought his family back to Ouray for at least one long summer vacation each year. In 1991, looking forward to retirement, he purchased a house site with a view of the San Juans, and he and his wife moved here permanently in 1999.
Bill worked several different jobs before he retired for good, including operator for the Telluride gondola and administrative clerk for the Telluride high school. He also served for a time on the Log Hill volunteer fire department and the Ouray mountain rescue team.
Bill was an accomplished mountaineer who in 2004, at the age of 59, finished climbing the 300 highest peaks in Colorado, making him the 19th person in the records of the Colorado Mountain Club to go this far “beyond the Fourteeners.” He also loved running, mountain bik- ing, and snowboarding.
Bill is survived by his wife, Gail, and by his daughter, Eve Donohoe, and two grandchildren, Joe and Kate Donohoe, who live west of Montrose, and who got to spend much of their childhoods learning how to play outdoors with their dad and pop-pop.
Bill’s family and friends will scatter his ashes from the top of Mount Sneffels and from an overlook at Cocan Flats, at a time yet to be determined. A memorial service with military honors will take place at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.