GREEN RIVER - Frank Vetere, Sr., age 85, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009, at Family Health West, Fruita, Colo.
He was born on April 4, 1923 in Green River, the third child of Italian immigrants Maria Sacco and John Vetere Sr.
Frank grew up in Green River.
He was a World War II veteran of the South Pacific.
After the war, Frank returned to Green River and began following the oil fields. He married Mary Ellen Schoenberger of Helper on July 24, 1948; she died on Nov. 4, 2006.
After an oil rig injury, Frank returned to farming. He is widely known for his great tomatoes and corn. Many have said that weeds wouldn't dare grow in his garden. He was constantly tending the vegetables he grew and chasing the weeds.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Louie and Charlie Vetere; and a sister, Rose Politano; and two half-sisters, Elena Ventura Acocks and Louigena "Jean" Spadafora. He is survived by a sister, Ida Ryan, Valencia, Calif.; two brothers, John Vetere Jr. (Bonnie) and Jay Vetere, both of Green River; his children, Frank Vetere Jr., Green River; Mary Alice Thompson (Marshall), Grand Junction, Colo.; John C. Vetere (Jo Anne Chandler), Green River; Greg Szafranski (Tammi), Battle Creek, Mich.; grandchildren, Andrea Lee (Ryan), Danielle Behrens (Troy), both of Grand Junction, Colo.; Amanda Kennedy (Zack), Howell, Mich.; and Derek Szafranski, Stockton, Calif.; one great-grandson, Parker Lee, Grand Junction, Colo.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the entire staff at Family Health West in Fruita, Colo.
Vigil service Thursday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., Mitchell Funeral Home in Price, where friends are welcome daily. Graveside service Friday, Jan. 16, 11 a.m., Elgin Cemetery, Green River.
In lieu of flowers, family suggests contributions to Family Health West, PO Box 130, Fruita, CO 81521 or an Alzheimer's care center.