PAGOSA SPRINGS, COLO.
W.S. “Smitty” Eoff
May 6, 1920 - Jan. 25, 2005
Former state senator, businessman, rancher and long-time Gallup resident W.S. “Smitty” Eoff died at his Pagosa Springs, Colo., ranch on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2005. He was 84 years old, and the cause of death was lung cancer.
Smitty was born to Frank and Effie Eoff in Snyder, Texas, on May 6, 1920. He moved to a family homestead in New Mexico in 1934. He developed a life-long love of the outdoors, enjoying hunting, fishing and ranching.
He married Zoe Caudill in 1941, in Albuquerque and they were married for 58 years until her death in 1999. He joined the Navy during World War II and served in the Sea Bees in the Pacific Theater as a welder. He was honorably discharged in 1945, at the end of the war.
He moved to Gallup and founded the Navajo Butane Company, building it into a very successful business. After selling the business, Smitty participated in a variety of ventures, including serving on the New Mexico LP Gas Commission, as a bank director, as general manager of the Navajo Shopping Center in Gamerco, and ranching. Smitty was a New Mexico republican state senator representing McKinley County from 1976 to 1988.
In 1965, he bought the Clo Chin Toh ranch near Ramah. The family spent summers there for many years. He purchased another ranch near Pagosa Springs, which the family still owns. He enjoyed working cattle and spending time on the ranch.
He left Gallup in 1994, and moved to Aztec. He lived there until 2004, when he moved full-time to the ranch in Pagosa Springs.
Smitty married Lillian Horvat in 2002. She, along with his children, cared for him until his death at home.
He was a life member of the Elk’s Club, a very active member of the Lions Club, serving as district governor. He loved dancing, cutting firewood and spending time with his family and many friends. He was known for his sense of humor and his quick wit.
In addition to his wife, Zoe, he was preceded in death by his youngest son, Dale Eoff in 1998.
He is survived by his wife, Lillian Horvat-Eoff; his children, Zorena Anderson and husband, Roger, of Durango, Colo., Zenise Miles and husband, Lowell, of Albuquerque; Randy Eoff and wife, Shirley, of Pagosa Springs and Larson Eoff and wife, Nycole, of Durango. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and two sisters.
There will be a memorial celebration of his life at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005, at the Farmington Elk’s Lodge, 801 Municipal Drive, Farmington.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3801 North Main, Durango, CO 81301.