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The Saguache Crescent of Saguache, Colorado

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Memorial services for Ralph E. Vavak were held on Saturday. January 4 at the Cortez First United Methodist Church.

Ralph E. Vavak (Mr. V) left this world on Friday, December 20, 2013. He was born on January 20, 1928 in Waynes County, Mo. to parents Joseph Franklin and Lucy Hester (Reese) Vavak.

Ralph moved to Saguache as a young boy with his family. There he attended public school until he graduated in 1946. From there he attended Western State College, where he received a degree in music education in 1950. After tea-chins public school for a few years he joined foe Army from 1951 to 1953. While in the military, he served in the Signal Corp at Camp Gordon, Ga., and served in Korea at well. After being discharged, he became the music director in Hotchkiss.

The Cortez community was blessed in 1956 when Ralph started his public school career teaching here. Weather teaching choir or band, Mr. V touched the heart and soul of everv student he had for 30 years. He was one of the few teachers, indeed maybe the only, teacher that taught in the Calkins building when it was the Junior High School the current middle school, when it was the High School, and the current High School. In the years after his retirement, he filled in as a substitute teacher at the high school and thus maintained contact with the many high school students who were his "family."

As MCHS band director, Mr. V took the band on its first "big trip" to the 1985 Indianapolis 500. Mr. V also was the "voice" of the MCHS Marching Panthers during home half time performances. One of his favorite memories was announcing them in 1993 during a Denver Broncos halftime performance.

Ralph founded and directed the Cortez Choralaires for 47 years. Many people in the community can remember being a part of that incredible ensemble, or can remember listening to the wonderful music they performed. In addition, Ralph was the long time Choir Director at the First United Methodist Church here in Cortez. He never missed a high school band or choir concert. He never forgot a student's name. He was always friendly to everyone he met. Whether you knew him from his love of music, raising Arabian horses, painting, hiking Colorado mountains or simply loving life's adventures, you became a lifelong friend.

Ralph is survived by four nephews and was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Dolores Gallinger.

Services are under the direction of Ertel Funeral Home. To send condolences, click on the obituary section at ertelfuneral

Cremation was chosen and burial will be in Las Vegas, NV in the crypt with his parents and sister, Dolores.

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Original Publication Date: January 16, 2014

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