by Maxine Deeter
This week we note the passing of a long time former La Salian and legend, Hal Bane, who lived and worked on The Ranch here for four decades.
Hal came to La Sal with his wife Jackie and children Matt and Shauna in the mid 1970s to work for La Sal Livestock. He stayed working for two generations of ranch owners and raising his family here.
Hal came here as a young man. He had a real James Dean look about him. Unfortunately, that included the cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, just as many of the icon photos of James Dean. In the end, this lead to Hal’s demise
Hal passed away two weeks ago. Since retiring a couple of years ago he had resided in Dove Creek, CO. Funeral services were held Saturday, July 16 in Ariola, CO.
Viewing Facebook posts, there were several tributes expressing thanks for what had been learned from Hal. Again, several generations of local cow folks benefitted from his knowledge over the years.
As they were posted on Facebook, I believe that makes them public domain and I would like to quote this one posted by Ricky Wilcox: “Been thinking bout all the things this man taught me. And that toothless ol’ grin of his. Thankful that God gave me the opportunity to know him. I never met a better cowboy don’t think there ever was one.”
This man could be stern even ornery, but in truth under all that stern, there was a soft spot for many folks with whom Hal associated – those he respected and liked.
The wise looked beyond the rough demeanor and paid attention for there was much to learn. I’ve said many times recently, they don’t make many cowboys like that anymore.
Either they don’t know what they are doing or they are not willing to put in the long hard hours in the saddle or on the ground doing the mundane work also required on a ranch.
It is not as romantic as portrayed in the movies. Many find that to be the case to their disappointment.
Learning from Hal taught these men what real cow work entails. Forget the romantic portrayal of the life of the Marlboro man – it’s lots of hot, dusty, hard work.
Besides, if you follow the example of the Marlboro man, you will probably die a premature, unpleasant death. The results of smoking is not romantic either.
Hal was preceded in death by his wife Jackie. He is survived by his children Matt and Shauna as well as two grandchildren. He was laid to rest in Ariola besides his life’s love – Jackie.
La Sal and ranching have lost a true cowman in the passing of Hal Bane. His legacy will live on through those who truly knew him and, more importantly, who learned the lessons he had to teach.
There’s an empty saddle in the old corral. Adios friend.