Community pillar Letey dead at 91

A Grand Junction man who poured his heart into community service and doted on his friends and family died Thursday.

Al Letey was 91.

Letey was a past president of the Grand Junction Kiwanis Club and a past state lieutenant governor for Kiwanis. He also was a past president of Bookcliff Country Club. Letey served more than 50 years on the board of the Monterey Park Senior Apartments and was honored with the distinction of Lifetime Board Member.

“He had devotion to his family and the people in his community,” Letey’s daughter, Shari Sjerven, said Friday. “He blessed his family, and he received blessings from his family and friends.”

Letey was compelled to serve the community, sitting on the committee that oversaw beautification of Grand Junction’s core and becoming involved in other fundraising drives and local efforts over the years, too many to count, Sjerven said.

“His spirit and his leadership not only benefitted our family. Our community lost a really great man,” she said.

Letey was the oldest child born to Italian immigrants in Woody Creek, and he taught his parents and siblings English. He graduated from Carbondale High School and went on to earn an accounting degree from Ross Business College in Grand Junction. He married Lottie Thompson in 1943, and they had two children, Gary and Shari. Lottie passed away in 1981. Gary died in 1998.

Letey married Margaret Skynear in 1982, and the couple enjoyed their children, 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Letey began his career in electric utilities as a bookkeeper at Holy Cross Electric and later was hired at Grand Valley Rural Power Lines in Grand Junction. He worked his way up to manager by 1958.

Letey’s crew was the first to bring electricity to Aspen.

In 1966, Letey was invited to Brazil to assist its government in bringing electricity to the country’s rural areas.

Letey enjoyed golf, and until age 88 he could be found on the golf course up to three times a week, Sjerven said. He scored a hole-in-one eight times.

As his family was growing up, summer weekends were spent at a cabin on Grand Mesa, marked with long days of fishing. Letey loved to eat good food and never missed playing poker on Monday nights.

But he was a stickler for community organizations, a volunteer who ensured the books were always in order.

“Nobody went through the financial statements more than Al did,” said Matt Smith, vice chairman of the Monterey Park board. “His first order of business was to sit down and review those financial statements. He’s a real inspiration for community service.”

Letey was appreciative of how far services for people with disabilities had come over the years, after his granddaughter was born with severe disabilities.

“He really had a special place in his heart for people with disabilities,” Sjerven said.

Visitation for Letey will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Monday at Callahan-Edfast Mortuary. Services will begin at 11 a.m. at the mortuary. A reception will follow at the Courtyard Marriott, 756 Horizon Drive, at noon.

Entombment will be at 2:30 p.m. at Memorial Gardens.


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