Darrel Eugene Asay, 92, passed away in his sleep on July 14, 2021. A life-long resident of the San Luis Valley, Darrel recently relocated to Caddo Mills, Texas to be with family. Darrel was born on April 9, 1929 in Alamosa, Colorado to Otis and Elsie (Miller) Asay.
After graduating from Center High School in 1947, Darrel was drafted into the military. He served for the U.S. Marine Corps, stationed mainly in Japan and Korea. Upon his honorable discharge from the Marines, Darrel moved to Chicago where, in 1955, he married his sweetheart Maryellen LaJoie.
Growing tired of the big city life, Darrel longed for the fresh air, scenic mountain views, and serenity of the San Luis Valley. So, in 1961, he and Maryellen returned. Settling in Center, Darrel began a career that included land leveling, farming, potato warehouse machinery maintenance, foreman, and warehouse owner. In 2010, Darrel retired although he still participated in harvest as often as he could.
Darrel was a passionate TV football watcher. Family members often remarked that it was just as entertaining to watch him during a game as the game itself. Sitting in his chair dodging would-be tacklers, stiff-arming popcorn bowls, and drop-kicking plush animals. Field Goal!!
In addition, Darrel enjoyed tinkering in his shop. Creating carts to move propane or oxygen bottles, potato bulk-boxes, and even a potato planter. No piece of machinery was safe if Darrel thought improvements could be made.
Darrel was well known for his athletic achievements in his younger years. He was the state runner-up in the pole vault during his sophomore year, 1945. He followed this up in 1946 and 1947 by not only being the state champion, but setting a pole vault record that stood for many years. However, Darrel's first love was football.
Not only did Darrel lead the Vikings to a SLV championship in 1946, but he also played in the North-South All-star game. While in the Marines, he was able to continue to play football; often travelling to air or army bases for a game. In his last game, he played for OTSU Japan winning the Far East Command Championship. Darrel's athletic achievements culminated with his induction into the Center High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Otis and Elsie, his brothers John and Robert Asay, his sister Cleo Prentice, and his son Daniel Asay.
He is survived by his wife Maryellen and son Thomas of Caddo Mills, Texas.
The family would like to thank those friends who stayed in touch with Darrel as his health failed in the last few years. They would also like to thank those who provided care for him until the end so that he could stay in his home.
At his request there will be no memorial service, but a Celebration of Life will be held later this fall. All who knew Darrel are invited to attend and reminisce. Stay tuned for more details.