Cover photo for Donald Henry Acord's Obituary
1929 Don 2024

Donald Henry Acord

June 22, 1929 — February 22, 2024

Granby, Colorado

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A life well and fully lived


Donald Henry Acord passed away February 22, 2024 surrounded by family, and rejoined his best friend and beloved wife, Shirley.

Don was born in Greeley, Colorado on June 22, 1929 to Francis Acord and Rebecca (Dagle) Acord. In 1930 Don’s family moved to a ranch on the Williams Fork, near Parshall, where they raised hay and dairy cows. In 1942 the Acord family moved to a ranch between Granby and Tabernash; their property was later purchased by the YMCA of the Rockies and became part of Snow Mountain Ranch.

Don attended primary school at the Ute Park school on the Williams Fork, and graduated from Tabernash High School in 1947. He proved early in life he was a jack of all trades. He worked various jobs in logging, sawmill and ranching before enlisting in the United States Navy in 1948.

Although he didn’t talk a lot about his military service until later in life, Don was very proud of his service in the Navy during the Korean War. Don was as an E-3 Boatswain Mate, another jack of all trades. He was stationed on several ships based in Subic Bay, Philippines, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and San Francisco, California. Most notably Don served on a Landing Ship Tanker as part of the Incheon Landing, which was the amphibious assault by Allies to retake the Korean peninsula. The landing is credited as a turning point in the Korean War. During the assault, his ship was grounded on the Incheon mud flats when the tide retreated. Don and his fellow sailors had to defend their ship from attack for two weeks until combat operations subsided enough to allow another boat to tow them back to deeper water. Don was awarded two combat stars for his service.

After the Navy, Don returned home to Granby and continued working many different jobs. He worked for the Denver Water Board building the water tunnels on St Louis Creek; he also worked on ranches, drove bulk fuel trucks, and spent time as a heavy equipment operator for Grand County Road and Bridge.

In 1953 he met the love of his life, Shirley Cody, when she worked in Grand Lake as a telephone operator for Mountain Bell. They married on September 11, 1954, and had five children: Terry, Polly, Mike, Pat, and Kelli.

The Bureau of Reclamation recruited Don as a heavy equipment operator in 1956 and he worked nearly 30 years on water projects from Colorado Big Thompson Project to the Green Mountain Dam. Don spent several weeks in Estes Park dredging and stabilizing dams following both the 1976 Big Thompson flood and the 1982 Lawn Lake flood. As a well-respected and hard-working individual, Don built close relationships with many agencies and individuals around Grand County. Don, Shirley, and the kids spent many years living in the “Bureau Camp” at Shadow Mountain Reservoir before moving to Granby in 1970.

After retiring from “the Bureau” in 1984, he started his own excavation business, which he ran until 2013. Showing once again he was a jack of all trades, Don cut and cleared new roads all around Grand County, dug ditches, hauled coal and gravel, and, in the mid 1980’s, began his paving business.

Don was an avid reader. He also loved to hunt, fish and camp, especially with his family. He taught his three older children to ski as soon as they could walk, and he drove the ski bus to deliver his two younger children and grandson to the ski area whenever there were ski days. Don spent many hunting seasons up Ute Pass with family and good friends. Don and Shirley loved to travel, and their favorite trips were camping along the way to Alaska and then back home again.

Don was an icon in Grand County and he greeted everyone with his infectious smile. He supported the 4-H, The Middle Park Fair, and his children’s, grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s activities and sports. He was a proud member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and a regular face at the Memorial Day and 4th of July parades. Don was always known for helping individuals anytime, anywhere, and however he could. He is already greatly missed.

A family man through and through, Don is survived by his children Terry (Steve) Zupan of Pueblo West; Polly (Gary) Allison of Granby; Mike (Kim) Acord of Florence, AZ; Pat (Cathy) Acord of Granby; and Kelli (Jon Skelly) Acord of Sandy, OR; the pride and joys of his life, his grandchildren Paul (Tracey) Ray, Becky Allison, Gretchen (Danny) Reynolds, Wendy Allison, Zach (Mabon) Acord, Tami (Jeff) Vague, Mary (Daniel) Scheihing, Michael Acord and Erin Swietlicki, Samantha (Doug), Marc (Katie), Dominque (Dave), David (Suzanne), and Patrick (Rhonda); and His great-grandchildren Jackson, Brendan, Brady, Layla, Charlee, Karmen, Daniel “Shug”, Kodi, Henry, Allie, Harper, Oaklee, Maverick, Trinleigh, Afton, Delante, Jenna, Jerad, Arianna, Gianna, Jordan, Salim, Callie, and Collins.

Don is also survived by his brothers Butch and Duane Acord, brother-in-law Doug Cody, sister-in-law Gen (Jim) Baller, numerous nieces and nephews, special friends Rod and Bruce Hodson, and many extended family and friends.

Don was predeceased by his wife, Shirley Acord, parents Francis Acord and Rebecca Acord Sanchez, step-father Pete Sanchez, brother Gerald, sister Teddy “Sis”, and brother-in-law Albert Cody.

A celebration of life and memorial will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in Don’s name to the Grand County Library, Grand County Veterans, Grand County Seniors, or the Grand County charity of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Henry Acord, please visit our flower store.

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