Warren was born almost 89 years ago on his grandparents' cherry farm near Loveland, Colo., to Herman Otto and Dorothea (Reifschneider) Vollmert. He and younger brother Bernard grew up in Fort Morgan, where their family had little money during the Depression. Warren worked hard helping his parents with their milk trucking business, and earned money for his first car by clerking at a grocery store and driving the high school bus. After graduation, he signed up with the Merchant Marines and spent a year sailing to distant ports.
Upon return, he joined the Air Force and began a 24-year career, earning the rank of a senior master sergeant. While stationed in Texas, he met a petite, spirited airline hostess named Hazel Gay Blair. The two were married in El Paso and had four children. Warren's travels in the service were the source of many stories, including Alaska (a day of survival training in hand-dug snow caves, with only a candle and matches to keep him from freezing), the Philippines (fresh pineapple daily and spotless housekeeping by friendly locals spoiled him!), Okinawa (where joining three bowling leagues relieved the isolation), and Fort Worth, Texas, (he was in charge of the flight line when the B-52 bombers were put on alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We didn't see him for a week, just heard the roar of the plane engines, ready to go but never called upon.)
After retirement, Warren moved the family to north Delta where he started an antique furniture business called The General Store. Since he often said he was born 100 years too late to travel westward in covered wagons, at least his many buying trips gave him a chance to explore the back roads of Colorado. He retired again after 24 years, and found he had time to indulge his love of history, reading about the Civil War and World War II. Then he discovered Robert Parker's westerns, and the mysteries of James Burke!
Not long ago, Warren wondered aloud about how he would be remembered. While he was a smooth dancer, loved big band music and was a fisherman par excellence, he also cared for Gay at home during the first 10 years she had Alzheimer's. He tried to live up to the motto on his Air Force coffee mug:Aim High. His intelligence and sharp memory were mixed with desire to stir things up and keep people honest by "pulling their chain." No surprise that he earned (and loved!) his nickname of "Great Balls of Fire!" Most of all, he acknowledged that friends are where you find them -- in a nursing home, or even among his own children. And saying, "I love you" or talking with a "shrink" doesn't make you less of a man; indeed, it made him more of one.
Warren is survived by his wife, Gay; children, Larraine Pallas, Mark (Mary) Vollmert, Barry (JoAnn) Vollmert and Lisa (Rick) Vigil; several cousins, seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.
All are invited to share memories at a brief memorial service that will be held graveside on June 25 at 10:30 a.m. at Delta City Cemetery in Delta, Colo.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Taylor Funeral Service and Crematory.
View the internet obituary and sign the online guest registry at taylorfuneralservice.com.
Two of the four marijuana questions on the November ballot were narrowly approved by voters in the City of Delta. Measure 2F allows the establishment of medical marijuana centers. Measure 2H permits the establishment of medical marijuana cultivation, testing, research and manufacturing facilities.