Final Gathering for CIG Retirees

Several CIG Retirees Reminisce Prior to their Friday Night Dinner

Several CIG Retirees Reminisce Prior to their Friday Night Dinner

Former employees of Colorado Interstate Gas have been making Lamar their annual headquarters for their annual reunions.  Since 1973 CIG retirees have convened at the Cow Palace Inn each September to renew old acquaintances and visit with their friends.  This Friday evening, September 6, will mark the final time they are all gathered under one roof. 

Loy Jones, the retiree group’s president, said the numbers have fallen off over the last few years and the vice-president of the organization, Dale Curry is in poor health.  “I can’t go on without Dale, he’s been the right hand man and instrumental in the club.  In fact, he was still working when the club was formed in 1959,” Jones explained.  Jones said poor health has also prevented the gentleman who put together the quarterly newsletter for the past 23 years from continuing his duties.  “We also relied on him for a lot of help,” Jones added.  “I’ve talked this over with all the board members and we decided that this year would be a good time to bring it to an end,” he explained.  “Some of our members haven’t heard about the decision yet, but the announcement will be made during our afternoon sessions.  We’ll have our Friday night dinner and a Saturday breakfast buffet and we’ll all go our separate ways,” he stated. 

Jones detailed some early history of the gatherings, stating that before the group decided to come to Lamar, they had been holding the reunions up and down the Front Range, between Denver and into New Mexico.  As it turned out, Lamar was a central location for most of the club’s membership and it hosted the gatherings for the past 40 years. 

Up until 2001, each retiree was given $15.75 per quarter by the company for the club’s uses.  That went into meals, lodging, gas and mileage for travel, up to $40 apiece for transportation.  That stipend ended but the club continued to pay for their gathering with funds that were still in the bank.  The retirees group swelled to its largest membership with about 400 in 1996 when Jones retired from CIG, when 127 persons retired that year.  Since then the numbers have slowly dwindled. 

In the early days, around 1973, CIG retirees would call Dave Eddleman and make arrangements for the group.  “The Cow Palace couldn’t accommodate all those numbers, so Deanna Callahan, the bookkeeper, would call the other motels for us and make arrangements for the group and then the bill would be split out to everyone later,” he explained.  Jones recognized the economic importance of the annual presence of the retirees in Lamar adding, “When I came on the board around 1997, we would spend around $22,000 to $26,000 for those two days at the motel for meals, gas, lodging and so on.”  That didn’t take into consideration the money that was also spent in the community at various stores and other restaurants.  In 2001 the retirees were told they would have to pay their own way, but Jones said no one blinked an eye, they still intended to get together in Lamar at the Cow Palace. 

Jones said there will be no other newsletters being issued and the group isn’t seeing any more new members with the current crop of retirees.  “Not that many of us have computers, so we’d have to rely on a printed edition, but it isn’t happening.  Last year we had 69 members and this year there’s only 30,” he stated, adding that was one of the reasons there are so few coming for the final year.  “We’re just losing members as well due to old age.  He estimated there was a 25% to 30% attrition death rate among the CIG members each year and there were 33 last year and 27 this year,” he stated.  He assumed that smaller groups of retirees in Kansas and Texas and in other cities will probably have some kind of local get-together, but this will be the final one for the large group to convene in Lamar and reminisce about old times.

By Russ Baldwin

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