Robert Vernon Shultz, 1925-2015 grew up in South Dakota but spent the majority of his life in Colorado where he moved in 1951. Prior to his move, he researched which state might have an ideal climate, business opportunities and beautiful landscape as well as a good place to raise his family. His oldest son Robby was born in Madison Wisconsin, but the subsequent 3: Lindy, Randy and Lisa were all born in Colorado.
Turtle Peak Ranch near Wessington Springs, South Dakota, where his son Randy currently ranches, is just four miles from his birthplace and where he grew up. His parents farmed before opening a hardware store during the depression in 1934. He grew up on Main Street, Wessington Springs. He spent summers with Aunts and Uncles on nearby farms. He was proud of his one room schoolhouse education for the first three grades. Like most people in rural 1930’s, he didn’t live in a house with electricity or running water until he was nine.
Growing up in South Dakota included working on threshing crews, general construction and a short stint as the drummer with Les Kutil and his Kings of Swing (originally Lane Ramblers), the beginning of a lifelong affair with Swing, Jazz, and Blues. “The Waltz You Saved For Me” was his theme.
And he liked Ford V-8s, Buck Jones, Aunt Grace’s baked beans, Ruskin Park, Winchester rifles, Colt six-shooters, Stetsen hats, Hieser and Fred Mueller saddles, Northern Plains Beaded Indian goods, beefsteak, rhubarb pie, and hunting jack rabbits.
He volunteered for the Navy in 1943. Assigned to the USS Missouri, Battleship 63, as a radio operator, the ship was the site of the Japanese Surrender Ceremonies in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945.
Bob married Norma Schwabauer in 1948 and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1951 where he was a laborer in residential construction and on the GI Bill. His major, American Institutions, included studies in Geography, History, Political Science, Anthropology and Economics.
He started his insurance career with O’Rourke and Daniels in Denver and with his wife raised four children in suburban Cherry Hills Village. With the support of his parents and wife, he founded The High Country Corporation in 1955, which specialized in surplus lines and high-risk casualty and property insurances. He sold his business in 1979.
The second half of his life was invested in being a Douglas County rancher. His Colorado ranch, Prairie Canyon, is dedicated to wildlife, open land, and western history. Sold to Douglas County Open Space in 2000, his desire was for the ranch to remain undeveloped and open to horse back rides, hikes, picnics and historical tours.
His hometown affiliations were Dunham Historical Society, Kiwanis Club and the American Legion. In Colorado his memberships included Round Up Riders of the Rockies, the Denver Westerners, Farm Bureau, Douglas-Elbert Livestock Association, Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America, National Cowboy Hall of Fame, American Battleship Association, Parker Breakfast Club and Franktown Power Brokers, and the Republican Party.
He was instrumental in having Eagle Woman inaugurated into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2010. He recognized and admired her place in history and was proud to have her acknowledged in this manner.
In later years, four granddaughters, Staci, Ashley, Summer and Liberty, became his priority. They and his two daughters were his primary reason for staying in Colorado. In March of 2015, he became a Great Grandfather to Irelyn Shultz Griffin.
He liked Blue Corn Horses, tongue and cheek humor, and wearing spurs in the town watering hole. He loved to read about the history of the 1800’s, especially The Battle of Little Big Horn and the lone survivor, a horse named Comanche.
His favorite writers were Mari Sandoz, Frank Dobie, Will James, Ayn Rand, and Ben Greene. Favorite persons included Aage Madsen, George Bridge, Hugh Glass, Thomas Jefferson, Buck Jones, Tom Mix, Crazy Horse, Eagle Woman, Will Rogers, Buster Keaton, Charley Russell, R. J. Payne, Barry Goldwater, Milton Friedman, Mike Rosen, and John Elway.
His favorite vacation spots were San Diego, Jackson Hole, Vancouver, BC, Santa Fe, London, Ft. Laramie, and Western Nebraska sandhills. His favorite motion picture was Casablanca.
His last cow pony was quarter horse Gambler, who would ground tie, (retired to Turtle Peak Ranch), and his last blue heeler, Buddie, is buried at Bartruff Cemetery, Prairie Canyon Ranch. He enjoyed the company of two cats, Mama Kitty and Peanuts, who gave him great comfort and companionship in his 80’s.
In his last years, he enjoyed the company of friend Carol Gummersall and regular visits from his daughters Lindy and Lisa as well has Tom Wickland. His view of Pikes Peak and the open space of Prairie Canyon Ranch was a site to behold from his dining room table.
Please feel free to leave comments of memories of Bob Shultz.
A celebration of life event will be held in the summer of 2016, date to be determined.
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Enjoy a video about Prairie Canyon Ranch: