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Posted: Friday, Dec 7th, 2012

MONTE VISTA — Aaron Turner, 36, of rural Monte Vsta, died Nov. 21, 2012 at Kindred Hospital in Denver.

He began his cooking career in Winter Park and Durango. While working as a chef on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., he suffered a heart attack. In March 2008, he had an experimental heart assist pump implanted in his chest. He struggled with chronic pain and infections, recently suffering multiple strokes and failing kidneys. He amazed doctors and served as a physical and spiritual inspiration to those around him. Friends started teasing him about having 29 lives.

His passions were cooking and riding dirt bikes, motorcycles and ATVs. He also enjoyed pets, shooting pool, old cars and trucks, Johnny Cash, art, gardening, camping, fishing, target practice and reading. Nature’s grandeur was special to him and he liked gazing at the night sky and watching sunsets. He seldom met a stranger and, above all, cherished family and friends.

His maternal grandmother, Florence Hunter-Burns of Las Animas; the love of his life, Amy Klees of Durango; cousins, Jim Sales of Rifle and Bruce Bickel of Mountain Home, Ark.; and an uncle, Darrel Hunter of La Junta, preceded him in death.

Survivors include his mother and father, Charles and Barbara Wagner, with whom he resided; son, Elijah “Eli” Kuntz of Durango; grandmother, Jane Wagner of Monte Vista; foster brother, Travis Minear, Granby; soul-brother, Lael Shaw; seven great- aunts and uncles including, Gladys Miler, Cheraw, Martha (Ron) Sales, La Junta, and Nancy (Gene) Leonardson, Kenmore, Wash.; cousins, John (Diane) Fazekus, Colorado Springs, Christina (Ray) Johnson, Las Animas, and Crystal (Terry) Pemberton, Las Animas; mentor, Melvin Headrick, La Junta, and numerous close friends.

Memorial Services will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 8 at Winter Park Christian Center in Tabernash and at 11 a.m. Dec. 17 at Valley Church of the Nazarene (VCN in Monte Vista.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in care of VCN, P.O. Box 271, Monte Vista, 81144.

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