Cover photo for William Edwin Karney's Obituary
William Edwin Karney Profile Photo
1930 William 2022

William Edwin Karney

June 5, 1930 — March 27, 2022

William Edwin Karney was born June 5, 1930 in a little house on San Juan in La Junta to parents Hugh Joe Karney and Mary Bollinger Karney. He had three sisters and one brother. As a youngster he worked at Winter Livestock, La Junta Livestock and for Harry Welden on his ranch.

He married Judy Steidl on March 15, 1958. At that time he went to Grand Island, Nebraska to work on the race track. He and Judy had three children - Suzi, Wyatt and Jerrilea. They built a house on the farm on East Sixth Street. We then moved to North La Junta. At that time we took in foster kids. We had eight foster kids plus our three with only one bathroom!

At that time he went to work for R.P. Lewis as foreman. He was a member of CCRA Cowboy Rodeo Association. He participated in amateur rodeos riding saddlebroncs and steer wrestling. He was a pickup man at many amateur rodeos, Kids Rodeo, Little Britches Rodeos, L.D. Ward, Edker Wilson, and Bill Davis Rodeos.

We then moved to a house on Log Avenue. We had 100 acres behind this house. William and several of his "boys" built a rodeo arena. Bringing them home at noon for Judy to feed them. One day she served them upside down pineapple cake and whoops, she forgot the pineapple!
After the arena was built, OJC formed a rodeo club with William as one of the directors. The
college kids practiced every evening and they missed out on cafeteria food so William sent them up to the house to eat. At noon cars would just start driving up to eat lunch. Somehow, we always had enough food.

At this time he started doing pit-barbecues. He barbecued for weddings, funerals, Elks Club, rodeo reunions, and he hosted the Chamber of Commerce with a barbecue at his arena.

He was a charter member of Ace of Spades, the Club honored him at their annual banquet, as the only surviving member. He was a director for Kids Rodeo for several years. He and Tommy Richards led Early Settlers Parade for 30 plus years, carrying the flags, with Judy riding side saddle with a new dress every year.

He went to work at Santa Fe Railroad in 1968 in the water service department. In 1985 he was burned in an explosion at the railroad. He was burnt on 65 percent of his body with third degree bums. He was in ICU unit for 71 days, the doctor then sent him home directly from ICU. He was considered 115 percent dead at his age and the bums. He wore an elastic suit for one year. In 1992 he was at a ranch in Pueblo, got bucked off the horse and broke his pelvis. All together he has "died" five times. He always said the devil didn't want him and God wasn't ready for him. Every day when we would hear of someone's illness or misfortune, he would say, "we are so lucky." He never ever complained. He would get upset when there were some things he tried to do but he just couldn't. After his hands were burned, they were like claws.

William was preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Lucille Frost and Edna Daggett and one brother, Buddy Karney. He is survived by his wife, Judy of sixty four years, daughters, Joela Suzi Chierche and Michael; Jerrilea Karney Grasmick and Mark; and son, Wyatt Karney. Grandchildren, Cassi Chierchie; and Nicholas and Bela Chierchie; Garrett Grasmick and Charity; Bailey Karney Knapp and Nathan. Great-grandchildren, Kennedy Lee and Brecken Knapp; and Adalyn J. Grasmick. Sister, Sarah Daggett; sister-in- laws, Mary Karney and Cheryl Steidl. Russell and Mary Lou Karney, cousins on his father's side and numerous cousins on his mothers' side.

William welcomed the Lord into his heart in 1985. I am sure he was received with open arms when he went to heaven last Sunday, March 27, 2022, when he was working on his place, on his old tractor. He must have known that God was finally ready for him, at 91 years of age.

A celebration of life service will be Saturday, April 2, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. at the First Church of the Nazarene with Pastor Gail Allen of the Valley Cowboy Church officiating.

Online condolences may be made at Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home & Arkansas Valley Crematory is in charge of arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Edwin Karney, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain time)

First Church of the Nazarene of La Junta

1111 West 10th Street, La Junta, CO 81050

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