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Willis DeLaney

Estes Park resident Willis (Bill) DeLaney died at his home on Thursday, November 13, 2008. He was 85 years old. Willis Clarence DeLaney was born December 31, 1922 in Joliet, IL. His parents were Fredric J. and Margaret (Swanson) DeLaney.

Bill graduated from Joliet Township High School in 1940. He married Norma Adele Coope, his high school sweetheart, on September 3, 1941 in Joliet, IL. Bill and Norma lived in Chicago, IL, where he worked as a commercial illustrator for Montgomery Ward. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 and was stationed at Lowery Field prior to serving in Germany until 1946.  While stationed at Lowery Field he discovered Estes Park and fell in love with Rocky Mountain National Park. Under the GI Bill, he attended the University of Illinois at both Navy Pier – Chicago, and Champaign, IL, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture.

He worked as an architect for G.W. Wolf & Co. in Logansport, IN. Bill then went on to work for 26 years at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, as Chief of Planning and Engineering in Physical Facilities Administration. Bill also had a private architectural practice and designed golf courses, churches, homes, banks and commercial buildings in and around West Lafayette, IN.

Bill, Norma and their six children vacationed regularly in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park since the 1960s. After retiring from Purdue, he and Norma spent time between their farm in Brookston, IN, and their residence in Estes Park, CO. On their Indiana farm they grew wine grapes, gardened, and raised Newfoundland dogs. They became full-time residents of Estes Park in the early 1990s. Bill enjoyed hiking and photography in Rocky Mountain National Park, and was an accomplished water color artist and illustrator.

Bill is survived by his son and daughter-in-law Brian DeLaney and Marti Corrales of Colorado, son Will DeLaney of Arizona, daughter and son-in-law Dana and Michael Burke of Pennsylvania, daughter and son-in-law Denice and Donald Borda of New Mexico, daughter Susan Doneff of Kansas; brother and sister-in-law Robert and Lois DeLaney of Illinois, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife Norma DeLaney and son Stephen DeLaney.

A private family service will be held at the residence in Estes Park on November 28 at 2 p.m. Condolences may be sent to the DeLaney family, P.O. Box 2401, Estes Park, CO 80517, and memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of the United States in care of Allnutt Funeral Service, 1302 Graves Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517. See to see Willis’ on-line obituary and send a message to the family.

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