Middle Park Fair and Rodeo Pioneers – Jack McElroy
August 6, 2009
A lifelong Kremmling rancher, Jack McElroy added skiing, golfing and flying to a rich life that ended unexpectedly on April 12.
His family will remember him as a beloved father, grandfather and brother. The community will remember him as a person who was heavily involved and always brought his love of life to everything in which he was involved.
He was born on Feb. 10, 1934, to Joe and Isabel McElroy and he spent his early years on Pass Creek ranch north of Kremmling. When Jack was 11 years old, the family moved to the ranch just south of Kremmling, still occupied by the family today.
Jack loved every aspect of ranch life. Watching the earth renew itself each spring while baby calves kicked up their hills, cussing the timing of water for the hay crop, fixing fences, guiding the irrigation and feeding animals during the long winters, it was all part of a very satisfying life for this Middle Park rancher.
In high school, he started to help build Baker Mountain ski area, a two-rope-tow operation at the base of Rabbit Ears Pass in the early 1950s. The ski area went out of business in 1959 when Rabbit Ears Pass was closed for the winter.
From that ski area, he obtained a public address system that he used to announce rodeos and other events. He was the announcer for the Kremmling Days parade for many years.
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Jack completed high school in 1952 and then attended one year of college at Regis in Denver. He was drafted into the peacetime army in 1956 and spent time in Europe, predominantly Germany. While there he added water skiing to his many skills.
Back in Colorado, he met and married Mary Kay Buscovick on June 6, 1960. They were married for 49 years and raised four children, Chris Sammons, Karen Horowitz, Jodi Graf and Kelly McElroy. Jack and Mary Kay were also able to enjoy three grandchildren, Dustin Graf, Dillan Sammons and Cole Sammons.
In addition to the ranch, Jack was also a real estate broker. He designed, developed and built a 70-unit mobile home park that is currently owned and operated by his daughter Chris and her husband Dave Sammons.
Active in the community, Jack served on the school board, the Middle Park Medical Foundation and was a member of the Middle Park Medical Foundation. He was also the superintendent of the team pulling contest at the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo.
At the age of 55, he learned to fly and spent many hours in the air over Kremmling as well as trips to farther destinations. In 2000, he and Mary Kay began to spend winters in Arizona, where they endeared themselves to numerous friends and golfing buddies.
Jack was truly a pioneer of Middle Park. Born and raised in west Grand County, he and his family helped shape the community that people enjoy today.