Dawn Earnest (D. E.) Cone was born Dec. 7, 1927, in Hot Springs, S.D. But he really began making a life in 1955 at the C Lazy U Ranch in Granby, Colo.
Dawn, who never corrected those who believed his name was Don, was the eldest son of Rufus Dana Cone and Jeannette Ardella (Freer) Cone. He had a brother, Blaine, one year and eight months younger and a little sister Lona, 4.5 years his junior.
In 1935, the family pulled up their stakes in South Dakota and traveled to Washington State. During their ten years in the Pacific Northwest, they moved five times to Snoqualmie Falls, North Bend, Tenino, Adna, and Stevenson. For the extremely introverted young boy, the moves were difficult, but he persevered, both in his school work and helping his family with their dairy goats.
When Dawn was almost 18, the family moved back to South Dakota. He was drafted into the U. S. Army in 1950 and served in Korea. Upon being honorably discharged after two years, he returned to South Dakota. After a short time breaking horses and working solo in a cow camp, his brother, Blaine, who was working at the C Lazy U at the time, convinced Dawn to move to Granby and wrangle horses and guests.
And so he did - longer than 40 years as an employee of the C Lazy U (described as their 'forever head horse wrangler' on their web page) and every year thereafter in 'retirement' returning to his beloved horses and guests.
His other great passion was skiing - downhill and cross country. When 'scolded' by friends and family for not letting anyone know where and when he was going to go skiing, even into his 80s, he would reply "if that is how I die, I'll be happy." And so it was. Dawn was found Feb. 8, 2013, in his beloved mountains, his skis still on. Family and friends take solace that it was a quick passing in a beautiful setting.
Though never married, the C Lazy U ranch owners, management, employees and guests through the years, and the community of Granby, became his extended family. This is evidenced by all the letters, cards and photos he cherished. And also by the many postings from around the country on the C Lazy U's Facebook page. His family, Blaine and Edith Cone, and Lona Cone Merrill, as well as nieces and a nephew wish to thank everyone for their love and respect for Dawn. He really was never alone.
A memorial service will be held in late spring, date to be decided, at his "home" - the C Lazy U Ranch. For donations in lieu of flowers, please make 501(c)3 tax deductible checks payable to Grand County Search and Rescue, P.O. Box 172, Winter Park, CO 80482 - Dawn Cone Memorial.
The family wishes to extend their deepest appreciation to the ranch, Connie, Dale, Jude and Bill; to Leif Forrester and the Murray's; and to Sheri Lock for their assistance during a very difficult time.