SOUTH FORK— Floyd Getz, San Luis Valley native, water visionary and leader, and businessman, who recently turned 87, passed away in his beloved state of Colorado on March 6, 2019, at his daughter’s home in South Fork.
Floyd was raised on the family farm and ranch south of Monte Vista. He and his siblings went to school by horse back at the Rock Creek School south of Monte, which is no longer standing. His family raised native hay, cattle and sheep on the ranch, and grazed the livestock in both the Summitville and Creede areas during the summer months. Floyd always talked about when he was a young boy how he and his brother, Melvin, along with a family friend talked their parents in letting them ride to the Summitville range to visit the sheep camp. They had to repack the mule several times before arriving there. The agreement was once they got to camp, they had to go into Summitville and call home to let their mother know they arrived safely. He also remembered being able to purchase double ice cream cones at Summitville for a nickel. Floyd graduated from Monte Vista High School, attended a diesel mechanics tech school, and served in the Air Force; he was stationed in Germany during the Korean War.
Floyd worked for his father-in-law Carroll Wetherill for several years as an outfitter guide before purchasing the S Lazy U guest ranch and starting his own guiding service. Floyd knew the upper Rio Grande river basin extremely well and could navigate it in both day and night. His favorite pastime was riding horse back in the high country above the Rio Grande Reservoir. He was forever taking “Floyd” trails, which in reality were elk trails, when taking others on horseback through his favorite stomping grounds.
Floyd continued as a hunting guide and to take family and friends on summer high country camp trips even after selling the guest ranch and developing his own fish farm. He raised prime trout and became well known throughout the state for his expertise of wildlife and fisheries. He served a term on the Colorado State Division of Wildlife Board because of his vast knowledge of the wilderness areas, wildlife, and fisheries throughout Colorado.
Floyd began a career in farm and ranch real estate in the early 1960s with Milt Riggenbach. Floyd, Milt, and Wilma Hettinger were a force to be reckoned with. Floyd later formed a real estate partnership with Don Schulz and Karla Shriver, which they called Pro View Real Estate. Their focus was farm and ranch real estate throughout the State of Colorado, but primarily in the San Luis Valley. In the mid-to-late 1980s, Floyd and Melvin had the strategic vision and insight to put together a purchase of the foreclosed Weisbart Ranch by the Commonwealth Irrigation Company, who then divided the land and water to smaller units for others to purchase.
Floyd was a “water buffalo” of the San Luis Valley. He served on the Rio Grande Water Conservation District Board in its infancy and was a visionary for the Closed Basin Project. He was a founder and later first executive director of the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, which initially got its start for the vision of Wagon Wheel Gap Reservoir, though this did not materialize. Floyd was instrumental in changing the focus of the District to augmentation water for the San Luis Valley.
Floyd was involved in the first local community economic development committee in Monte Vista, which was responsible for the development of the land around the Coors elevator. He was also active in the local Republican Central Committee and served as its president for several years.
Floyd and his wife Judie retired to Mesa, Ariz. and spent many happy times entertaining visiting family and friends in their home there. They took many trips, the highlight on these was to stop along the road in some rural area and inspect the types of crops growing in the fields.
Floyd’s father and mother, Les and Irene Getz, his siblings Melvin, Alan and Marilyn Neely, and his first wife Carol Ann, preceded him in death.
Floyd was always a true gentleman, mentor and had extremely strong morals and values.
He leaves behind Judie (Crawford), his wife of 38 years, his children Cathy Getz (Jack Dancoe), Geoffrey Barker, Bill Getz (Sandra Wagner), Bob Getz (Gin), Leslie Lynne (Brad Britzmann), his brother Glenn Getz (Sue) and brother-in-law Braxton Neely. Floyd also has five grandchildren of whom he was extraordinarily proud, Michele (Shay) Smith, Forrest (Kaycee) Getz, Jessica Tovar, Mikhail Lynn and Katrina Lynn; five great grandchildren and an extended family of nieces and nephews will also deeply miss him
The family will be honoring his wish to spread his ashes in the mountains he loved, the time and date to be determined at a later date.