Alva James Healey, 86, of Longmont passed away March 15, 2017, in a fatal car crash. He was born April 21, 1930, in Loveland, Colorado, to Nathan Healey and Minnie (Hindenlang) Bentley.
Alva lived most of his early years at 511 Pleasant St. in Boulder, CO, having lived only briefly in Loveland, CO, and Bisbee, Arizona. He was the youngest of 11 children born to Minnie Hindenlang and was the only child of his father, Nathan Healey, a Colorado hard rock gold miner, who died in a mining accident when Alva was 6 years old. Widowed twice, his mother was left to raise the then 6 living children on her own through the Great Depression in Boulder, CO, when Roy Bishop, a widower, came into his life and became the father figure and hero to the family. Although Roy and Minnie never married or lived together, they were together every day for the rest of their lives.
At age 6, he bruised his right femur bone badly, when his wagon tipped over while playing on the steep hill where he lived. He developed osteomyelitis and was facing amputation. His mother fought hard to save both his life and his leg. He underwent 16 major surgeries in 8 years and he literally grew up in the Boulder County Hospital. Then at age 14, he received the modern medical miracle, Penicillin and was cured. Although he was cured, he was left with his leg 2” shorter and leg bone the size of a matchstick. Doctors said he could never walk without a leg brace for fear of breaking that leg and it not healing. He surprised everyone when he bravely removed that brace and just walked. The exercise caused the bone to strengthen and the leg to grow. He never stopped walking.
He was named Alva Healey after his beloved grandfather, Alvah Q. Healey, a prominent gold miner in the Four Mile Canyon area above Boulder, who had also been involved in the construction of the Moffatt Tunnel. Alva’s family roots went deep into Colorado history.
Alva received his machinist training at Emily Griffith Opportunity School in Denver. He tried to join the National Guard, but was dismissed for his physical disability.
Alva married Barbara Joan Lang in 1951 and Irma-Louise Shapiro Hendricks in 1976, they moved to Longmont from Boulder in 1976.
Alva was a bricklayer for 15 years. A machinist at Honeywell in Denver for 3 years and janitor/maintenance at the University of Colorado campus and the CU cyclotron building for 19 years. He retired in 1989.
He was a member of International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craft workers (BAC) local Union #3 Colorado.
He enjoyed square dancing, country dancing, competitive and target archery, handgun range shooting, stream fishing, camping, hiking and golf. He loved his car and driving, both to relax and to go on long adventures. He loved the mountains and listening to the wind. His musical talents were fancy whistling, guitar playing and singing and playing diatonic and chromatic harmonicas. His special hobby/talent though in later years was elaborate storytelling.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Barbara Lang, a daughter Barbara Christianson; three half-brothers, Fred Bentley, William Bentley, Alfred Bentley; seven half-sisters, Dorothy Bentley, twin girls Bentley, Mabel Reagan, Viola Zehner, Hope Wolny and Gertrude Myers,
Alva is survived by his daughter Ava (Andrew) Bokody; grandchildren, Cari Kite, Dawn (Chad) Nelson, Alex (Janette) Bokody, Kristi Bokody (Dave) Black; great-grandchildren, Brad and Lane Nelson, Natalie Bokody; nieces, Carole Bishop, Donna (Dennis) Bignell; nephews, Bill (Melodie) Oliver, Mike Myers and many more adored nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 AM, Friday, March 24, 201, at Ahlberg Funeral Chapel. Cremation entrusted to Ahlberg Funeral Chapel and Crematory. Visit www.ahlbergfuneralchapel.com to share condolences.