July 25, 1935 - April 26, 2022
Service Date: April 30, 2022
Jay Grant (1935-2022)
Jay Grant—a devoted husband, father, friend and lover of life—passed away peacefully in his sleep April 26, 2022, at his home in Montrose. He was 86.
“I’ve had a great life, except for a few minutes in 1966,” he would say with sly smile and a sparkle in his blue eyes. Those minutes involved a near-fatal farming accident that resulted in the amputation of his left arm and right leg. Jay miraculously not only defied death, but he never let his misfortune define him. He and his wife Mabel, with whom he had six children, continued to farm and ranch until the early 2000s.
The eighth of Robert and Grace Grant’s 10 children, Jay was born July 25, 1935, in Delta, and spent his youth accumulating the idyllic experiences he would later recount with delight. He hunted, trapped and farmed, swam in the Gunnison and rode everywhere atop his beloved horse, “Joker.” Blessed with speed and strength, he excelled in football and wrestling (a/k/a “rasslin’”) at Delta High School. He also loved competitive square-dancing and singing in glee club.
A year after becoming the first of his siblings to graduate high school, Jay met the love of his life, Mabel Fowler, whose family had recently moved from Nebraska. Born exactly one year and one day apart, they married in 1954, and after following road-construction work around the state (including the building of Blue Mesa Dam), they purchased his parents’ farm east of Olathe in 1958. There, they raised corn, pinto beans, grain, sugar beets, alfalfa, hogs, sheep and milk cows. Their property off Falcon Road would eventually grow to 300 acres.
With a growing family to feed, Jay worked winters at the Holly Sugar Factory in Delta. A natural leader and teacher who befriended everyone he met with a genuine “glad to know you,” he later became the president of the Montrose County Farm Bureau and a member of the Olathe Potato Growers board. His knowledge, kindness, sincerity and humor drew people to him like bees to a honeypot.
While farming Jay would often come up with country and western songs, which he and Mabel, a pianist and guitarist, would later write down and set to music. With Sid and Dean Culver on guitars, he professionally recorded a number of those songs—his favorite, “Little Valley,” paid tribute to his cherished Uncompahgre Valley—and as recently as this year, delighted in singing them with his devoted bride.
His love of music inspired him to invite musicians to a weekly jam in the family basement. The get-togethers grew and, 40 years later, continue to take place at various locations around Montrose and Olathe.
First and foremost, what inspired Jay was his family—his dearest Mabel, their five daughters (Lucinda, Janet, Sharry, Jo and Karen) and one son (Brad). Even as his body began to fail, his devotion to them never wavered. He heroically provided motivation to remain positive despite the obstacles. He’d regularly chat with his sisters, nieces and nephews, always joking and keeping their spirits high. As testament to the esteem in which people held him, more than 120 people attended Jay’s and Mabel’s 60th Wedding anniversary in 2014.
Jay is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mabel (Fowler) Grant; daughters Sharry (Greg) Colzani of Berkley Springs, WV; Jo (Jon) Rizzi of Denver; Karen Grant of Grand Junction and Brad Grant, late of San Diego; three grandchildren (Casey Colzani-Granados, Daisuke Ben Harada and Kosuke Jon Harada) and two great grandchildren (Penny and Lucas Granados). He also leaves two sisters (Elva Trimmer and Pat Percival), a brother (Daryl) and, as he might say, “a haywagon full of nieces and nephews.” Two daughters, Lucinda and Janet, and a granddaughter, Valerie preceded him in death.
A memorial will take place April 30 at 2 pm at Crippin Funeral Home in Montrose. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Olathe Methodist Church, PO Box 148, Olathe, CO 81425.