June Elizabeth (deGraffenried) Turetzky passed away peacefully at Larchwood Inns on Nov. 29, 2012. She was 94.
June was born in Fort Collins in the summer of 1918 to Thomas Edmund Leiper and Jennie Murray Horn. She had two younger brothers, Wallace Hardy and Hugh Carnahan. Her father was a gifted musician and an agriculture teacher at Grand Junction High School which led to her being raised on a turkey farm. The farm was northeast and across Interstate 70 from where Bookcliff Gardens sits now. So many memories were made there that later in life June wrote a book, "Bonnie Acres Turkey Farm." The depression hit and shattered their dreams and they lost the farm, and 12-year-old June and her family moved to Cedaredge to start over in a two-room cabin with no running water. At 18 years old June married James Lionel deGraffenried on Dec. 28, 1936. June and James "Hop" took over the Cedaredge ranch and cabin and began their own family, six boys and two girls. Somehow, between milking cows, raising a garden, toting firewood, helping with farming and pumping well water to wash lots of diapers, June made time to let her desire for artwork come forth, usually after the kids were in bed. Paintings were traded for lots of things and she learned to hand-letter signs. She eventually had over 50 oil paintings in 14 states and many folks, especially in Delta County, knew her. But life was not easy and the family was split. Another marriage to Leo Johnson on April 10, 1956, added two more children and again she had to lean on her artwork to provide for these last two of her 10 children. Difficulties in life continued and perhaps made her who she was. She joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1962. Another, last, marriage was to Walter William Turetzky on Nov. 23, 1966. He remained a dad and friend to the end of his life in June 2012.
June not only painted beautiful things, she enjoyed the beauty of the earth and worked well into her late 80s just to make pretty flowers and trees grow in her yard. An old injury to her back eventually put her into a bed that she never could stand and walk away from, and her artistic right hand could no longer hold a brush or pen for her anymore. It seemed as though her body had quit her, yet at 92 she didn't quit. With dimmed vision and a trembling, untrained left hand she began to paint while lying in her bed. Over 30 left-handed paintings later, we should all be inspired. But so much more, the Lord never gave up on her either. On Thanksgiving Day 2012, June asked the Lord to forgive her of all of her sins, she soon fell asleep and rested until He took her home on Nov. 29. The Lord's mercy and love is ever faithful and He never fails!
June was preceded in death by her parents, her spouses, one brother, Wallace Leiper; two sons, Lyle Lee and Wallace Edmund deGraffenried; and one daughter, Dee Anna (Kenner) Wilstead.
Survivors include her brother, Hugh Leiper of Kent, Wash.; seven children, James Larry deGraffenried (wife Sue, deceased) of Milford, Utah, Teddy Aaron deGraffenried (Pat) of Grand Junction, Ronald Eldon deGraffenried (Hiedi) of Paonia, Donald Owen deGraffenried (Vera) of Crawford, Betty Lou Morgan (Mike) of Paonia, Delbert Lee Turetzky (Debbie) of Springville, Utah, and Murlynn Faye Jenks (Michael) of Grand Junction; 26 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.
Visitation and singing will be 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at Mesa Funeral Services Chapel, 2825 North Avenue in Grand Junction. The memorial service will be Saturday, Dec. 8, 10:30 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints, 511 Oak Avenue in Paonia, followed by a graveside service at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Paonia.
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