By Gwendolyn Rose (Denver) Marquez, roll #92
Connie Mack Denver was born on October 14, 1913 in Fort Duchesne Utah, the first Son and second child of Elmer Denver Sr. and Mary May (Harris) Denver. As a youth Connie was raised, as was all his brothers and sisters, in the traditions of his parents and Grandparents.
In his youth, Dad was educated at the local Whiterocks Indian school and later on as a young Man attended Brigham Young University in Provo UT then transferred to the University of Southern California.
All his adult life, Dad worked as a Stone Mason. He learned this trade and received a degree from the Haskell Institute in Laurence, Kansas.
In the mid 1930’s, my Father was a member of the Los Angeles Athletic Club were he trained with the great Jim Thorpe and ran track with Harry Chaka and was a member of the U.S. Olympic team at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles where he competed in the track and field events.
During this time of his life Dad helped to build the local Jailhouse in Fort Duchesne, Utah and did a lot of the concrete work on and off the reservation. In 1937 he moved to California where he worked building the government housing on the Southern Paiute Reservation in Bishop CA. His skill was so much in demand that at the start of world war two it took him to Hawthorn Nevada where he put his trade to work building the ammunition storage bunkers at the Naval Armor just out side of Hawthorn. In Bishop and throughout the state of California, Connie was well known for his masonry, the beautiful works of veneers on buildings and the fireplaces he build which can be seen and are still in use at the sky resorts of Mammoth Mountain and June Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.
It was during this time while living and working on and around the Paiute Reservation that he met and fell in love with the Woman he would spend the rest of his life with. On January 6, 1942 Dad married Rosaline Marie Butcher a beautiful young Indian girl from across the White Mountains east of Big Pine, CA, just west of Death Valley. It was on Tu Su Lane in Bishop were Dad hand build the home for his family and where their would live the rest of the life’s. The beautiful fireplace he build was constructed from rock, hand picked from the local area and to this day it holds our story of Dad’s legacy.
Connie was well respected not only for his talent as a stone mason but also as a Sundancer and healer. His Sweatlodge brought together all Native American from thru out California and Nevada. Mother and Father welcomed all people who asked for help. So as far as I can remember Mom and Dad were “just” people. He believed in faith, as a Catholic and also in his native Ute up bring. Both my parents were spiritual in their beliefs in God and the blessing of the Grandfathers.
Father helped the Bishop Paiute Elders as a director and also helped coach the Middle League baseball team in bishop. He loved his Native American Music, hunting and fishing and would often recall his younger day’s playing Hardball (baseball). He played Baseball in Fort Duchesne against other teams from around the area. He also played in Bishop and Big Pine. The Big Pine team players were mostly Paiutes and they had a big revelry with the other towns. Their team name was “Warriors” and their coach was Burt Griffith whose grandson went on to play in the Major leagues, his name was Matt Williams, Connie Jr. and Reg both grew up with and competed against him in baseball.
Our family was truly blessed to have such a wonderful Father; he was our provider and always kept the fireplace burning and stocked with wood. He had a wonderful wife who stood by his side through thick and thin and he conceited her his equal. The Creator could not have blessed us more with such loving, thoughtful and trustworthy parents.
Connie Mack Denver Sr. walked the star trail on November 11, 1993 at the Washoe Medical Center in Reno, Nevada, just 28 day’s after celebrating his and his wife Rose’s 50th wedding anniversary.
May god bless their souls and keep their spirits on the “happy hunting grounds” to protect us from evil. I feel his presence every day and know that some day we will all be together again. I play the two song’s Dad left us. “Marilyn’s” song (for our deceased sister) he dedicated it to and his “Eagle” song.
Connie’s life was fulfilled with every story he told and every step he took on earth. No one will ever replace his “Moccasin’s.” I miss him dearly and have nothing but good memories of a just and kind man. I am what I am because of his teachings, which is to respect all life on earth.