Summit Historical Society shocked by murder-suicide involving member (letter)
Needless to say, the Summit Historical Society and its board were shocked and saddened by the recent tragedy involving Jim and Dorthe (Dorda) McNaul. Those of us in the society and on its board who knew Jim as a friend and colleague saw him as a very different person, a person that we would like to share with the public and as a comfort to his family.
Jim was a very active, positive, dedicated, and well-liked member of the society and served as its vice-president and president in 2004-05 and 2005-06 respectively. He was passionate about the preservation, maintenance, and restoration of all of the society’s historical sites and other property throughout Summit County.
Perhaps Jim’s greatest single passion was the 1942 Sterling Howe fire engine that was donated to the Society by the Lake Dillon Fire District in about 2004. After securing funding from the Summit Foundation, Jim – working over the next several years with his friend and Society colleague, Jim Cox – spearheaded the restoration of the engine both mechanically and visually. In the years since, thousands saw Jim (McNaul) proudly drive the engine – flags flying, bell ringing, and siren wailing — in the annual Breckenridge, Frisco, and Dillon Fourth of July parades as well as at many other county functions.
At the drop of a hat, Jim would dedicate hours and days of his time working on various projects at the Montezuma Schoolhouse, Summit Cove’s Rice Barn, the Dillon Schoolhouse and related buildings, Slate Creek Hall, and all three of the Society sites in Breckenridge – the Washington and Lomax Mines and the Briggle House. He always participated in the seasonal opening and closing of the Washington and Lomax Mines.
Aside from his dedicated work “on the ground,” Jim was always a cheerful, positive, unselfish, and talkative friend, colleague, and partner. His carpentry tools and truck were always at our disposal as needed. His automotive and carpentry experience and skills were invaluable in all of the society’s various projects.
Who can fathom what motivates us as human beings – in all capacities? The recent tragedy brings to mind the thought that we should not only grieve for the victims but also for their survivors. It is the McNaul family that now must cope with their loss and attempt to understand it.
With that thought, the society and its board express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the McNaul family and wish them well as they attempt to move beyond their grief.
Board of Directors
Summit Historical Society
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