Family, friends to remember ‘Best refrigeration man in the county’ |

Family, friends to remember ‘Best refrigeration man in the county’

Earl Baumberger of Grand Lake passed away on Feb. 11, 2010. He was born on Dec. 16, 1932, in Seattle, Wash. to Evelyn and Carl Seppala, who divorced in 1936 when Earl was four years old. As a result of the divorce, his mother was unable to care for the children, so he and his brother Jack and two twin sisters were placed up for adoption.

Earl and his brother Jack were adopted by Harriett and Ralph Baumberger and the two twin sisters, Joyce and Jeannie, were placed in a home on Orcas Island just across Puget Sound in Washington.

Earl’s parents ran a cottage court where Earl helped them with things. He remembers wrapping up fine china when he was younger. The children were separated until adulthood when they were reunited with each other and their birth mother Evelyn, who was elated to finally find her children.

Earl joined the United States Coast Guard since he was raised by the ocean and always loved the water and boats. He served with the Coast Guard for four years and during that time he was stationed in Alaska on the USS North Wind. He was a Second Class Seaman and was honorably discharged after his service was over. He then went to work for Boeing Aircraft Company as an inspector where he met his beautiful wife Mary Digor.

They moved to Colorado where they were married by Rev. Monsignor P. Barry. They lived in Wheatridge and raised their daughter Kathie. During that time he worked as a foreman for Midwest Steel and Ironworks for 18 years. They then moved to Granby where he began ranching on the homestead that Mary’s father Jack Digor had left to them. He also worked for the Urad mine in Parshall building the steel structure for the mine and assisted in the building of the grade schools in Fraser, Granby and Grand Lake.

Earl then decided that he had not had enough of working, so he opened his own business as a refrigerator repair man and repaired most all of the coolers and refrigeration units for most of the restaurants in Grand Lake and Granby. He was remembered by quite a few restaurant owners as being “the best refrigeration man in the county.” He continued to do refrigeration until his fingers could not do the work any longer as he had terrible rheumatoid arthritis.

He later lost his right leg below the knee but that did not stop Earl. You would see him out in the freezing cold plowing snow without any gloves – his hands were so crippled he could not get any gloves on – repairing haying equipment in the summer and putting up hay for many of the ranchers in the county.

Earl and his wife Mary raised goats, chickens, geese, rabbits, pigs, cattle, buffalo and yaks and also had a horseback riding business at the corner of U.S. Highway 34 and County Road 4 across from Dilly Docks.

Earl will be missed and his funeral to celebrate his life will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 23, 2010 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Grand Lake. Interment will be at the Grand Lake Cemetery after the service and will return to the Grand Lake Town Park for food and drinks afterwards from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the covered pavilion. Barbecued pork, beans and coleslaw will be provided. Side dishes and desserts are welcome.

Everyone is invited to come to the ranch afterwards where you can tell your favorite stories around the campfire and everyone is invited to bring their guitar and come and play music.