Stephen Lee Trigg, Jr., a prominent Northeastern NM rancher, died July 2, 2002 after a short bout of failing health. He lived a robust, hardy and vigorous 85 years.

A memorial service was held at the Steve Trigg Ranch on Thursday, August 8, 2002 at 4:30 p.m. under a grove of towering cottonwoods, about a mile Southwest of the home where Steve grew up. Over two hundred folks made the long trek to the ranch for the service.

Frank Hoback officiated, telling and reading "Steve" stories. Linda Decker, Steve's niece, spoke of her ranch experiences, the hopes for the future of Trigg Ranch and read from Ecclesiastes, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven... ." Candace, Max, Megan and Penny Clark, nieces-in-law and grand-nephew-in-law sang, the beautiful gospel spiritual "Deep River". Tom McCullough, Steve's only nephew, gave the eulogy, recounting a few of life's lessons he had learned from Steve while spending summers on the ranch. I, the youngest of Steve's four children, on a lighter note, spoke of Steve's "oral punctuation" and recited Wally McRae's poem "Reincarnation". The group all sang "Home on the Range" lead by Candace accompanied by Frank on the guitar. Evan Larson played "Lament for Rory Mohr" on his bagpipes, which had been Steve's only request. Frank ended the service with the first and last stanza from Buck Ramsey's epic poem "As I Rode Out on the Morning", a powerful farewell.

The service was concluded by the whole group slowly following behind Steve's D7 Caterpillar bulldozer driven by Felix Vigil, Dad's treasured friend and employee, with Steve's ashes sitting beside him, Steve's "new" skid loader driven by Hilary Holmes, his granddaughter, (he loved equipment, not horses) and Evan playing his bagpipes. The procession, which carried Steve's ashes to three waiting airplanes, was one of the most powerful and emotional experiences of my life ... awesome.

I loaded Steve's ashes mixed with grass seed in a homemade ash spreader attached to the landing gear of my Cessna 180. Sean Grossetete, Steve's grandson, and Paul McCleary, a family friend, flew their planes in a missing man formation, we three taking off from a dirt road. As the gathering watched the planes fly the valley, the group sang "Goodbye Old Paint" followed by a toast of Jack Daniels (Steve's favorite) given by Stephen Trigg, Steve's oldest son. Paula Chacon, who grew up on Trigg Ranch where her father, Don, and grandfather, Gail, each worked their entire cowboy careers, flew with me, releasing Steve's ashes over Alamosa Point to mingle with those of family.

Most folks stayed to partake of a hearty, delicious chuck wagon dinner, relax and reflect. The service was a fitting tribute and farewell to a great man and wonderful father! Steve Trigg, you will be missed; may your legacy live on and on and on.

Eric Trigg

Steve's Ashes in Mailbag

Frank Officiating

The Crowd

Felix and Hillary lead

Airplanes Return

Dinner about to begin

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Stephen Lee Trigg, Jr., a prominent Northeastern NM rancher, died July 2, 2002 after a short bout of failing health. He lived a robust, hardy and vigorous 85 years.

Steve was from a long line of frontiersmen and cattlemen. His ancestors were among the first Virginia settlers to cross the Appalachians with Daniel Boone, settling Kentucky and Tennessee in pre-Revolutionary days. Steve's father, Steve Sr., originally from Fort Worth, was a cattle rancher and horse-trader in the early days of the Texas Panhandle. Steve Sr., his father (D.C. "Tuck") and his brothers leased a million acres of the XIT prior to and during W.W.I. With the profits from that venture, in 1918 they bought a portion of New Mexico's famed Bell Ranch and drove their Angus herd to graze the rugged mesa lands northeast of Tucumcari. Steve Sr. settled in Dog Canyon beside a crystal clear spring with his wife, Bess Whittle, and their three children, Adaline, Louise and Steve Jr. The family and ranch hands expanded an original rock Bell line-camp to build the ranch's charming headquarters, today used as a family retreat. After Steve Sr.'s death in 1937, Steve Jr. left the University of Texas, where he was studying engineering, to help his mother run the ranch. He was able to save the family holdings from the devastation of the Depression and droughts, and later added to the "spread", including a Montana ranch. Along the way, Steve's honest and fair dealings earned him the respect and trust of friends and associates far and wide.

Steve Trigg will long be remembered for his slow, deep, rolling chuckle; his salty language; his wonderful tales of the people and history of ranching, of rural life and of family; his menagerie of pets (a "house" pig, a buffalo named "Bill", a longhorn steer, monkeys, a goat, doggied calves, peacocks, parrots and macaws, humming birds, geese, ducks, guinea hens and wild turkeys, fish, stray cats and plenty of dogs); his love of and need to own equipment (loaders, dozers, scrapers, road graders, tractors, airplanes, boats and even a helicopter); his unique cattle and land management practices (consistently producing top performing and grading feeder calves); his living what many might call a "hard" life without REA power until the '50's and without a phone or television until the '80's; his dry humor (when asked why the mileage on the sign marking the dirt road turnoff to the ranch bore a number 10 miles short of the actual distance, he replied " If I put the right mileage, nobody would come to see me."… or a sign on the ranch that said, "Entering a Wilderness Area. Don't throw trash - It makes the place look like hell!"); his refusal to discard most everything, from worn-out trucks to magazines; his cooking ("If it's smok'n it's cook'n, when it's black it's done."); his ability to stretch projects into years and then more years; his tobacco-spit festooned vehicles; his love of a good tune and ability to waltz or boogie with the best; his reading each and every issue of The New Yorker, Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, New Mexico Magazine, Smithsonian, Technology Review and his favorite, The Wall Street Journal; his generosity (donating beef and the start of many a local cattle herd); his quiet reserve and indomitable strength of character. Steve's life was not hampered by convention or very many baths…..although when polished, shined and gussied-up, Steve's handsome, willowy figure was striking.

Steve leaves a rich heritage and many cherished memories to his four children, Sally M. Trigg, Stephen Trigg, Kristen Trigg Holmes (who with the able assistance of her husband, Richard, will take over the reins of Trigg Ranch) and Eric Trigg; six grandchildren, N. Sean and Kelly Grossetete, Caitlin and Hilary Holmes, Whittle Trigg and Colton Trigg; one great grandchild Sarianna Grossetete; four stepchildren, Paula Neese, Sonja Vuras-Foote, Chris Vuras and Mike Vourazeris, eight step-grandchildren, Ryan, Beau and Joe Bair Neese, John P. Jr. and Joshua Vuras, Saige Vuras, Jacob and Melissa Vourazeris, and one step-great grandchild, Mariah Neese. Steve was preceded in death by his first wife of 27 years, Polly Hill, his stepson, John Vuras, and his second wife of 22 years, Annie Buck.

A memorial service will be held at the Steve Trigg Ranch (about a 45 minute drive on dirt roads from Logan and Mosquero) on Thursday, August 8, 2002 at 4:30 p.m. Dinner will follow the service. Steve's ashes will be scattered on a high bluff overlooking the Alamosa and Atarque Creeks.

In lieu of flowers the family requests a donation be made to the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, % Mesa Community College Foundation, 911 S. 10th, Tucumcari, NM 88401 or the Tucumcari Historical Research Institute, 416 S. Adams, Tucumcari, NM 88401.

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