Landscapes 15

Franz X. Wuerfmannsdobler

February 17, 1934 ~ May 7, 2020 (age 86)


Franz Xaver ("X") Wuerfmannsdobler, of Salida, CO, passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 7, 2020. He was 86.  

X was born on February 17, 1934, in Munich, Germany to the late Alois and Franziska Wurfmannsdobler. He grew up in Munich with siblings, Alois and Ella, and trained as a cabinetmaker.  While in their teens, Alois and Xaver joined a kayak club, opening opportunities to travel and compete throughout Europe.  News of a 26-mile downriver, whitewater race on Colorado’s Arkansas River circulated through the kayak clubs in Europe. In 1955, X joined a contingent of European boaters who participated in the 7th Annual FIBArk boat races, foregoing his qualified entry into the World Championships that year.

X fell in love with Salida and decided to relocate to pursue his passion for printing. The then-owner of The Mountain Mail, George Oyler, sponsored X’s immigration and from there, he worked as its pressman for 17 years. He transitioned the paper’s printing press from movable type to offset printing. X became a stalwart member of the community and avid explorer of the area’s outdoors.

In March 1966, X met Nancy Whitson and they married five months later. Together the couple raised two sons, Franz and Hans, dividing time between their home in Salida and a beloved cabin in Garfield. X’s blue 1967 Chevrolet pick-up ferried them between the two homes.

He worked at the Climax Molybdenum Mine starting in 1974, and shortly after the mine closed in 1985, X took a position in the Salida School District’s maintenance department. He retired in 2006.   

X loved the Upper Arkansas Valley and contributed to the community throughout his life. He was a member of the Elks Lodge, a troop leader in Boy Scouting and an active organizer in FIBArk. In 1966, he served as Commodore, and in 2012, he was installed in the FIBArk Hall of Fame. He contributed one of his kayaks to the “kayak wall” in downtown Salida.

X was a funny, caring, hard-working and supremely generous soul who loved to share stories and jokes over coffee, grilled meats, or any other treats. X was an avid soccer fan, especially for FC Bayern, his hometown team.  X was a well known spoiler of all dogs he met but especially his own.  He was a dedicated father and faithful husband. 

He is survived by his wife Nancy and their sons Franz and wife Lisa Mao, and Hans and wife Teresa Mora. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Irmgard Wurfmannsdobler, niece Angelika Brummer, and nephew Klaus Wurfmannsdobler. His brother Alois Wurfmannsdobler and sister Ella Wurfmannsdobler predeased him.

Memorial contributions can be made to the FIBArk Community Paddling Center to support the FIBArk Youth Paddling Club. (P.O. Box 762, Salida, CO 81201). 

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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