Hot Sulphur, Kremmling Municipal Judge Ben McClelland dies at 61 | SkyHiNews.com

Hot Sulphur, Kremmling Municipal Judge Ben McClelland dies at 61

Sky-Hi News file photo

Judge Ben McClelland of Granby passed away on Thursday afternoon, according to County Coroner Brenda Bock. He was 61.

McClelland, a former Grand County Judge, was serving as the municipal judge for the towns of Hot Sulphur Springs and Kremmling at the time of his death.

At about 2 p.m. Thursday, the Grand County Sheriff's Office, along with Granby Police and the Grand Fire Protection District, responded to a call near Granby to assist with an out-of-control agricultural burn, according to Sheriff Brett Schroetlin. County officials located McClelland's body in close proximity to the burn upon arrival. Grand Fire was able to contain the blaze without any additional spread.

McClelland's death appears to be caused by natural causes, according to Bock, though the Grand County Sheriff's Office and Coroner's Office will conduct a joint investigation into the incident.

McClelland earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wyoming in 1990, and returned to earn his Juris Doctorate in 1994. Before coming to Grand County, he practiced real estate law in Colorado and Wyoming, including water rights and oil and gas matters, according to a state judicial performance evaluation.

He moved to Grand County where he worked as the municipal judge of Hot Sulphur Springs. He took his seat on the county bench in 2007, and served for more than seven years until residents of Grand County voted not to retain him in 2014. More recently, he returned to his seat as the municipal judge in Hot Sulphur Springs, and took on the position in Kremmling earlier this year, as well.

"I feel it has been a privilege and an honor to serve the people of Grand County and the State of Colorado," McClelland told Sky-Hi News in 2014.