Longtime GJ jeweler Mancel Page dies at 91
Mancel E. Page, a longtime Grand Junction business leader and expert jeweler who worked nearly 50 years on Main Street, died Tuesday. He was 91.
Services will be 11 a.m. July 12 at First Presbyterian Church, 3940 27 1/2 Road.
Owner of Page-Parsons Jewelers since 1964, Page “came by the jewelry business naturally,” former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis told Congress upon Page’s “retirement” in 2004.
“His mother’s uncle was a jeweler in Germany, and Mancel began taking apart and repairing clocks when he was 10 years old,” McInnis said.
One of Grand Junction’s oldest retailing establishments, Page-Parsons was originally founded in 1895.
A longtime member of the Grand Junction Lions Club, Page was instrumental in founding the Downtown Development Authority, an organization originally created by local merchants to improve the downtown shopping experience for consumers, daughter Peggy Page said.
Despite officially retiring in 2004, Page said her father worked with her in the store until the week before he died.
Mancel Page was a natural mechanic who managed to keep everything running on the family farm from the time he was a child, said his son, Dr. Patrick Page, a Grand Junction primary care physician.
“They called him ‘Pid’ because he was always piddling around and fixing stuff,” Page said. “He kept the Model T running so he and his friends could go to the 1942 World Series.”
Recruited by the U.S. Army Air Corps, Page scored so high on math tests he was sent to advanced training, Page told an interviewer last year.
While serving in the 8th Air Force in England, he helped develop a way to efficiently maintain the automatic pilot systems on bombers that made them more accurate. He also learned to repair watches, Page said.
After the war, he studied math and science at Missouri State College, where he met his wife of more than 50 years, Anna.
While working at several different jewelry stores, Page graduated grading and identification classes at the Gemology Institute in Los Angeles and was eventually certified as a gemologist by the American Gem Society, Peggy Page said.
Always a strong advocate for education, Page insisted his daughter also take all the gem classes. She did.
Peggy Page worked alongside her father since she was a teenager and ultimately took the lead in operating the business about 20 years ago, she said.
She has no plans to close.
“We will continue to be open,” she said, with one big exception.
“He was the watch person and we will not have anybody to repair watches anymore,” Page said. “It’s sort of a dying art.”