Obituary: Joe Marte
May 20, 2008
Joe Marte was born March 9, 1927 on the homestead at the head of Nine-Mile Creek in the Cottonwood Creek drainage, southwest of Granby. He was the only child of Markus and Antonia Marte, who homesteaded in Grand County in 1915. In 1928, Markus purchased a ranch where portions of the Silver Creek and SolVista developments are located.
Some of the hay meadows that Joe irrigated are now golf courses.
Growing up, Joe worked for a several ranchers, but thought irrigation was one of his favorite tasks. While irrigating, to check where the water was in the field he would toss a stick for his dog to fetch. As the dog splashed through the water, he could see where the water was. He was such a good irrigator, it was rumored he could run water uphill. His family usually had about 100 head of cattle, and a few milk cows and lots of vegetables.
School in those days was a summer affair. Due to the severity of winters and the difficulty of travel in the mountains, school was held from April to November. Joe attended school with the boys from another local family. An all-boy student body, beautiful weather and allure of a Grand County summer had predictable results. Joe once said it took six teachers to herd the boys through one particular summer.
All of his life, Joe was a rancher. He saw ranching develop from horse and buggy to what it is today. He once remembered when his dad bought a Model T, and that it was never driven in winter. Joe married Virginia Shiflet on Sept. 4, 1964. They met while square dancing. Joe and Virginia raised two boys together, John and Leigh.
When the Marte family lost their Bureau of Land Management lease in the early 1970s, Joe said the family either had to “get bigger or get out.” It was at that point Joe decided to sell the ranch to Val Mortiz Village.
Joe bought some property in Granby in 1973 and built a new house for the family. He kept working for Val Mortiz Development Co. until 1976. For the next 23 years, he worked for Jack Horn on his ranch near Granby. Though he lived in town during those years, he never really left the ranch life.
In 2002, Joe was named Pioneer of the Year for the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo.
Joe was always known for a positive outlook on life, a good sense of humor and solid core values, which sustained him throughout his life. When once asked if he would do anything differently, Joe replied, “I’d probably do it all the same again.”
On May 14, 2008, at the age of 81, he passed away after a brief illness.
Joe leaves to grieve his passing his wife of 43 years, Virginia, his two sons, John Marte of Granby, and Leigh Marte and wife Cat of Granby; a granddaughter Kenya Marte.
A private family service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Granby Fire Department.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the care and direction of Foran-Schoenfeld Mortuary – Hot Sulphur Springs.