Kenneth ‘Griz” Mazur, 80, passed away on July 11, 2015 at his home in Greybull as a result of AAA.
Ken was born Oct. 14, 1934, in Cornwall, Pa. He was the oldest boy of six siblings, and grew up as an independent and competent guardian of his siblings, who referred to him simply as “Brother.”
Early in his life he discovered an affinity with the natural world and spent his youth in the outdoors — chasing rabbits, swimming in rock quarries, hunting fowl and trading wild game to the neighborhood woman for a piece of Pennsylvania Deutsch spice cake. Although a good student, never was he found sitting in a classroom on the first day of fishing season. It was at the age of 9, while sitting on the steps of his family home abutting a hardwood forest, that he decided he wanted to become a Forest Ranger, without understanding that this would mean a college education. It was the same year that he learned that raccoons don’t make good pets.
Ken earned many athletic awards, but he had a real passion for baseball, and excelled at it. Not having a bat or a ball, his training was hitting rocks with sticks and running up the hills of the forest, dodging trees as fast as he could go. He nearly wore out his sister’s bike as he and his lifelong friend “Boots” pedaled from town to town playing in multiple leagues to skirt inning participation restrictions.
Upon graduation from Lebanon High School in the spring of 1953, he spent a year working in a steel manufacturing facility, and working for his uncle skidding logs. It was then that a leg injury found him hospitalized for a week, where he reassessed his life. He decided that he needed a college education, and come hell or high water he would get one. Soon after, he hitched a ride to Mississippi with a friend, and enrolled at Hinds Junior College.
Ken was drafted into the Army shortly after completing two years at Hinds, and trained to be a cypher in the cryptology division at a base in Georgia. Normally honest to a fault, his love of baseball found him faking sick in the infirmary so that he could listen to the World Series on the radio. Unfortunately, he ended up catching pleurisy there and receiving a harsh lesson in poetic justice. His two years in the army were during peacetime, so he played a lot of baseball for an army team and was transferred to Fort Huachuca, Ariz., where they collected their best.
With the help of an officer, he was able to arrange a tryout for the college team, A&M Aggies — now the CSU Rams. In a beat-up pair of army boots he bested the competition and earned a scholarship, enrolling in Forest Management. He lived in a boarding house across the street from the field house, and paid for it by running the business end of a broom. He claimed it paid fairly well — $32/month and room and board was only $28 — so he had change to spare.
It was during his last year as an Aggie (1960) that he met Anne Deppe while working for the summer as a timber aide in Saratoga, Wyo. They married in 1961 and started a family. Ken began work for the U.S. Forest Service, and in the early years of his career was transferred frequently from one mountain town to another, with children arriving every two years. Most of his work was grading and scaling for timber sales, but he did some recreational work as well, helping lay out the lifts and ski runs on what is now Copper Mountain.
In 1975, Ken decided to settle his family down, and requested his last promotion. With this newfound permanence, he and Anne moved to Greybull, Wyo., where he spent the final 40 years of his life. An active family man, Ken spent the next 15 years involved with his children’s various activities. He helped coach wrestling and baseball, and coached his own sons on how to sneak away for some duck hunting whenever possible. He took an early retirement option from the Forest Service as his youngest child was about to graduate from GHS; the sixth of six to do so. That same year, his wife Anne was diagnosed and succumbed to terminal cancer. After 30 years of marriage and six kids, Ken found himself starting life over as a bachelor with an empty nest. He spent the next few years traveling to visit old friends and having adventures across the country.
He found he was tiring of this new lifestyle when, as fortune would have it, he met another wonderful woman, Linda Fulton. She invited him into her life, and Ken found himself starting again – with three more children and a new wife. He continued along the familiar path he so loved, and helped three more children to graduate from GHS.
Ken is survived by his wife Linda, nine children and 14 grandchildren, all of whom refer to him as “Pappy” or “Boo-Boo,” depending on age. The family thanks you for the wonderful support we’ve received, and would request that in lieu of flowers, memorials be directed in Ken’s name to the Anne Mazur Scholarship at Big Horn Federal, 33 North 6th St. in Greybull, WY 82426.