Gordon Lee Off


Gordon Lee Off passed peacefully at home with his loving family by his side on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Gordon was born during the Great Depression, which might help explain his frugality, tendency to hold on to things, gather lots of stuff, and frequent thrift stores.

He was born in Del Norte on Dec. 3, 1929, to Chester and Adeline Off (Officer), the youngest and most spoiled of his four siblings: Vicki (Kroschel), Clinton, Margaret (Biles), and Chet Off.

He grew up in the era of using horses to farm, milking cows, and party telephone lines. Gordon joined the Army at the tail end of the Korean conflict, knowing full well that the government would pick up the tab for his college degree. Thankfully his time in the military was relatively quiet. He always liked to say, “he was never shot at or shot at anybody.”

He graduated from Colorado State University in 1957 (then known as Aggies) with a degree in Industrial Arts. He then taught Shop at Boulder High for 9 years where he often forgot he was the teacher and not one of the kids.

After being an hour late for their first date, he did eventually manage to talk sweet Suzanne Elizabeth Colville into marrying him in 1960. He and Suzanne raised three children: Shawna (Kent Ford), Kevin, and David (Keri Brandt) Off who in turn raised his five cool grandkids: Shane Atencio, Chenoa, Liam, Lhasa and Ryder Off.

Gordon and Suzie came to their senses in 1967, leaving Boulder and returning to their birthplace in Del Norte to resume ranching. He dedicated his life to sustaining the land and animals that he dearly loved.

Although he was the master of frugality, he was always very generous with his family and his community. He and Suzie have been involved with the restoration of The Windsor Hotel; donation of lands for Rio Grande Hospital, clinic, and future Wellness Village; the Del Norte Cliff Corner Land; and many other community projects. 

Gordon was a deep thinker but also had a very dry and fun sense of humor. He loved pranks, card tricks, riddles, and jokes, both the proper and improper. He had quite a list of folks that planned to get him back, not sure they ever did. One of his fortes was napping, as he often said, “I’m a light sleeper, I sleep best when it’s light.” He showed up to his daughter’s wedding with a sawed-off shotgun, all in good humor.

The German word for grandpa is “Opa,” which is what he was fondly called by his family. “Opafied” became a made-up verb describing his clever improvements or inventions. He could not look at something without figuring out how to make it better, which he did until the day he passed.

Gordon has left us with decades of fond and colorful memories, but we are always up for hearing more. Please join us for an informal celebration of life at the Off Family Ranch picnic grounds 10585 Highway 160, Del Norte Colo., on Sept. 25, 1 p.m.-ish (in case you are napping). Please bring a side dish to share after the celebration. Come rain or shine, we will be outside. Please wear a mask if you are not vaccinated.

Donations in memory of Gordon can be made in the care of Strohmayer’s Funeral home to Hospice de Valle, Rio Grande Hospital or to help pay for this ridiculously long obituary. Or tell a joke or perform a card trick to make someone smile.

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