Kremmling native and long-time veterinarian, John Martin Colburn passed away on March 31, 2023.
He was born on June 13, 1940 in Denver, Colorado to Ruth Helen Colburn (née Martin) and Howard Dwight Colburn. His love of cattle, horses, and agriculture were forged early at ranches throughout Grand County that his family owned and leased.
He spent most of his childhood on the Martin family homestead outside of Kremmling with his older sister Pat and younger brother Jim. He also spent a considerable amount of his youth on the Black ranch, now known as the Kemp Breeze State Wildlife Area.
In first grade, he began school at the Muddy Valley School, a one room schoolhouse, to which he commuted on horseback. In 1958, he graduated from the Kremmling Union High School.
Few people are blessed to be able to follow their passions. Yet, John was able to combine his love of agriculture and helping others when he pursued his veterinary degree at Colorado State University.
As an undergraduate, he majored in animal production and graduated in 1962 with a Bachelors of Science degree. In 1967, he earned his doctorate and graduated in the top of his class from the Veterinary Medical School.
While in college, he was very active. John participated in the AGR fraternity, livestock club, judging, and the rodeo club where he also served as president. Membership was bestowed to him by Alpha Zeta and Tri Beta honor societies.
Most importantly during this time, he met his wife, Margaret “Peggy” Colburn, and they were married in 1961. Over the next nine years, they would have two daughters, Debbie and Kim.
After his graduation, John moved his family back to his hometown and began his veterinary practice. He continued his practice for 55 years and developed many deep relationships with his long-time friends and clients.
Many of these relationships extended to the National Western Stock Show where he worked as a veterinarian in the yards for over 20 years.
He also enjoyed the local fair and rodeo where he was a participant and volunteer over the course of his life-time. He served in various roles for the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo, culminating his service as president with the 75th celebration in 1991. The following year, he and his wife, Peggy, were recognized as Middle Park Fair & Rodeo citizens of the year. During the 100th celebration of the fair in 2016, he was honored as a Pioneer.
In 2021, he was honored by the West Grand School District as a distinguished alumnus and was inducted into the West Grand Hall of Fame.
John relished his role of mentor and role model when youth would join him on horseback to move cows, help him at the barn, join him in the arena, or help him in his vet practice. And anyone who stopped by the house at meal time was always invited to join the family to eat.
Throughout the years, he served as an advisor for the local FFA Chapter and served as a board member for many organizations including the West Grand School District, Mountain Parks Electric, and USDA. He belonged to the roping club, Middle Park Hereford Association, member of the Rodeo Cowboy Association (now known as the PRCA), and was appointed to the Colorado State Racing Commission. He was a life member of the American Quarter Horse Association and the American Border Collie Association and was an active member of other organizations such as American Hereford and Maine Anjou Associations.
John is survived by his wife – Margaret “Peggy” Colburn; daughters – Debbie Lewis and Kim (Bill) Cameron; grandchildren – Sean (Alex) Cameron, Meghan Cameron, Jake Cameron, Scotty Cameron, and Trace Lewis; brother-in-law – Ken Barnes; nephew – Kevin (Chris) Barnes; nieces – Blythe (Mark) Darula and Cheryl Cottle; and numerous great nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents – Ruth and Howard Colburn; siblings – Patricia “Pat” Barnes and James “Jim” Colburn; and two infant sons.
Services will be held on Monday, April 10 at St. Peter’s Church in Kremmling. A rosary will be held at 10:30 a.m. followed by a funeral mass at 11:00 a.m.
A luncheon, eulogy, and time to share stories will be held at the CSU Extension Hall at the Kremmling Fairgrounds at 12 noon.
The family invites you to join them in any or all of these celebrations.