Retired uranium geologist Bill Chenoweth, a man known for his institutional knowledge of geology and all things related to uranium mining in the Southwest, died Monday. He was 89.
Chenoweth's work for the Atomic Energy Commission helped lead to the creation of the 1990 Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. With his extensive knowledge of uranium mining, the Grand Junction resident worked to verify claims of uranium miners and haulers, allowing miners and their relatives to receive government payments for their service to the World War II uranium mining effort.
For as much as he loved geology, it was his father's second love after his wife, Miriam, son Peter Chenoweth said Thursday.
Peter Chenoweth said his father was open in his personal life but didn't always share the same detailed level of geological knowledge with his family as he did with others in the geology world.
"I always say he was a man of few words unless you wanted to talk geology," Peter Chenoweth said.
Peter Chenoweth said his dad "was a great father" and helped to send his four children to college.
Bill Chenoweth generally was in good health into his 80s, but he developed a heart condition and he was in home hospice care for a period of time. He spent one night at HopeWest Hospice in the hours before he died.
Jon Horn, a principal investigator with Alpine Archaeological Consultants in Montrose, said Chenoweth generously shared his extensive knowledge of uranium mining and historical research to help identify the Old Spanish Trail, helping promote it to obtain historic status.
Horn only met Chenoweth once in person, but the archaeologist appreciated Chenoweth's extensive knowledge of the area.
Chenoweth's information helped researchers nail down the route of the Old Spanish Trail through the Grand Valley, Horn said.
"It was really nice to use his information," he said. "He was so into uranium mining you can really count on the work he did."
In addition to his son Peter, Bill Chenoweth also is survived by two other sons, Martin of Grand Junction and Paul of Copenhagen, Denmark; one daughter, Mary Donivan of Grand Junction; and three grandchildren.
Services are at 3 p.m. Monday at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.