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David John Nolan


1943 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
David John Nolan Obituary
David John Nolan, 74, of Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona, unexpectedly passed away on December 7th, 2017, at Scottsdale Osborn Hospital. He is survived by his wife, Barbara (Barge) Nolan; his three daughters, Heather Rock and her husband Jim, of Arizona, Erin Nolan-Borg and her husband Stefan, of Sweden, and Meagan Wilson and her husband Bart, of Oklahoma. He is also survived by his five grandchildren, his heart and joy, Taylor, Connor, Oliver, Adella, and Ames.

John's towering height and deep voice was juxtaposed by his gentleness and quiet demeanor. He was kind, caring, and the most loving father, grandfather, and husband. He was born in 1943 in Oskaloosa, Iowa, to Mary Lynn (Morris) Nolan and David John Nolan. At the age of 18 he moved to Colorado where he fell in love with the "high country."

As a college student at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, he spent most of his time in the mountains climbing in the San Juan, Grenadier, and Uncompahgre Ranges. John's enthusiasm for the outdoors was infectious and his children and grandchildren spent countless hours with him hiking, camping, fishing, and cross-country skiing.

In 1969 he married Barbara Barge of Durango. Married for less than three months, they attached a U-haul trailer to their turquoise Nissan Patrol and drove to Whiteriver, Arizona. Thirty-five years later they retired as educators from the Whiteriver Unified School District. John was a dedicated teacher who loved his job and felt honored to teach for the Whiteriver community, a community that came to mean so much to him.

John was an avid Ham Radio enthusiast with many friends on the local networks. John also had a lifelong passion for trains. When he wasn't teaching, he was working for the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Known as "Big John," he worked for the DSNGR as a conductor in the summer months for nearly 30 years. John had just finished laying the toy tracks and train around the Christmas tree for his grandchildren to enjoy.

More than anything, John deeply loved his family. He was a fiercely devoted and adoring husband, father, and grandfather. He was the light in their lives. This love and light is the legacy he leaves behind for generations to come. His family will forever remember his big heart, his smile, his laugh and sense of humor, and his bear-hugs.

Upon retiring, John and his wife and children built a summer cabin in the mountains near Silverton, Colorado. It is here, during the upcoming summer months, among the alpine meadows and roaring waterfalls that his ashes will be scattered.

Arrangements entrusted to Resthaven/Carr-Tenney Mortuary & Memorial Gardens, Phoenix, Arizona. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of John Nolan to the Silverton Public Library that he loved so much. 1117 Reese PO Box 68 Silverton, CO 81433 c/o Jackie Kerwin.
Published in The Durango Herald on Dec. 13, 2017
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