Donald Eugene Meinen

Donald Eugene Meinen passed away on Sept. 30 in Rifle. Meinen was born on June 19, 1929 in Hebron, Nebraska. His mother and father were also born in Hebron.

Meinen played sports for Hebron High School, where he represented  jersey number 11 on the basketball court and jersey number 33 on the football field. He once crowned the homecoming queen at halftime during a game between Hebron and Deshler High School. Meinen graduated from high school in May of 1947.

On May 11, 1948, Meinen enlisted in the U.S. Army Airborne Infantry. He served as a mechanic and paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He used to say he wasn’t sure why he jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

On July 17, 1948, Meinen married his high school sweetheart and lifelong love of 68 years Jo Anne “Annie” Wagor. Meinen had eight grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and several great-great-grandchildren.

Meinen had a great reputation for working as a dragline operator throughout many states. He loved the mining industry.

Meinen also loved football, and his favorite team was the Nebraska Corn Huskers. He said that Tom Brady is the best quarterback he ever saw play. He collected an assortment of old woodworking tools. His home, he said, was always Leadville.

Meinen lived at home with his buddy Cutie, a tiny black-eyed poodle and great companion, until 2020. His family said he had a great life and was very thankful for all he had done and all the wonderful people he knew along his journey.

Meinen was preceded in death by his father Ernest John in 1968; his mother Ida Bartling, who lived to be 98, in 1994; his brothers Orville in 1978 and Delbert in 1999; his sister Loetta in 2008; his granddaughters Jennifer in 1971 and Heather in 2008; his oldest son Michael in 2011; and his beloved wife Annie in 2016.

Meinen is survived by his baby sister Marjorie (Gene) of Colorado Springs; his son Timothy (Mary) of Rangely; and his daughters Sue (Robert) Coquoz of Meeker and Nancy (Craig) Jay of Parachute.

A service for Meinen will be held at Browns Funeral Service in Grand Junction on Friday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m.