Frank B. Churcher (1856 – 1918)

“Frank B. Churcher was one of the prominent and substantial business men of Salida, whose death was a great blow to the city in which he made his home.  He was born January 28, 1856, at Rochester, New York, a son of James Churcher, who was a native of England.  The father was a carpenter and contractor and the son learned and followed the trade.  He was but a boy in years when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Battle Creek, Michigan, where he resided until 1877, when he heard and heeded the call of the west.  The trip to Colorado was made in a prairie schooner and in 1877 he arrived in Pueblo.  He afterward went to Leadville, where his brother was located, and with building operations was closely associated at various points in the state for many years.  He took a contract with the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company to build its depots, water tanks and other buildings when the line was being constructed through this part of the country and thus he did much to further the railroad operations of the corporation.  While working in Leadville he met I.W. Haight, who had also been a former resident of Battle Creek, Michigan, and later they entered into partnership relations in Salida, where they began building contracting in 1880.  The won a liberal patronage and their business steadily increased.  Seven years later they opened a furniture and undertaking business, with which Mr. Haight was connected until 1903, when he disposed of his interest to O.L. Johnson.  Mr. Churcher, continued an active partner in the enterprise until his demise.  He also extended his efforts to other lines, becoming a heavy stockholder and the vice president of the Salida Granite Company, being of the group of business men of the city who considered granite quarrying one of the greatest assets of this section.  He was elected to the directorate of the First National Bank and he had investments in several mining properties.  It was largely through his efforts and influence that the Elks Club building at Salida was erected.  He loaned money to the lodge for the purpose, subscribed liberally to the building fund and personally superintended the construction without charge.

Mr. Churcher was united in marriage to Miss Jessie Ware and to them were born two daughters: Mrs. Rex B. Yeager, of Denver; and Mrs. A.T. Thompson, of Salida.

Mr. Churcher was a man of fine physique and of equally splendid spirit,–kindly, generous and honorable.  He was a devoted member of the Elks Club of Salida and also a member of the Colorado Funeral Directors Association, in which  organization he was very popular.  He passed away in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver, July 17, 1918.  The news of his demise was received with the deepest regret throughout the city and in all parts of the state where he was known.  Thoroughly progressive and reliable in business, active and honorable in citizenship, the worth of his work and of his life was widely acknowledged wherever he was he was known.”

Source:  History of Colorado, Vol. 3, by Wilbur Fiske Stone, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1918, page 526

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