Obituary: Carl Vail
October 3, 1931 – March 17, 2023
10/03/1931 to 03/17/2023
Carl died peacefully on March 17th supported by his family.
He was born in Elyria, Ohio to Floyd C. Vail and Edith (Bartells) Vail. In June of 1946 they moved to Steamboat. A friend had recommend going over Trail Ridge Road with their Studebaker 1 ton pickup pulling a 26 foot trailer house, which turned out to be quite the experience. The family purchased a ranch west of Steamboat Springs which Carl and Jan would eventually run. He graduated from Steamboat High School, then attended Colorado A&M (now CSU) earning a degree in animal husbandry. After 2 years in the Army at Ft. Banning, Georgia he then returned to Steamboat and the ranch. Carl met his forever love Janet (Jan) Prouty, and they married in November of 1956. They stayed on the ranch for a few years while he became the manager for the Steamboat Veterinary Hospital with Earl (Pinky) D Smith. In 1961 they built a house up Fish Creek Falls Road, “on the edge of town”, in Valverdant.
At the Vet hospital he did everything from cleaning to bookkeeping to assisting with cesarean sections on cows in the back of a truck in the middle of the night. In 1960 he and Pinky started researching and providing artificial insemination for cattle. They saw a need to be able to determine when a cow was in heat and Carl, Pinky and Wilbur Rule developed and patented the Kamar Heat detector in 1961, which eventually became Carl’s full time business.
Carl was a dedicated member of Kiwanis for over 50 years and served on the City Planning Commission in the 70s for several years. His love of the outdoors took the family on many hikes and pack trips and adventures to unique places. He loved to fly fish the little creeks up on Rabbit Ears Pass, and he lovingly called his favorite little stream Vail Creek. The family learned to cross country ski when Sven Wick gave us all lessons on Rabbit Ears Pass. Many hours were spent on skis enjoying the winters. He also loved snowmobiles and we had many adventures on the old machines and would meet with riders up on Rabbit Ears pass to make an entire day of riding to Buffalo Pass and back (no groomed trails) then enjoy drinks at the Columbine Lodge afterwards. Carl was well liked and respected by all and remembered for his generosity to the community.
Carl is preceded in death by his loving wife Janet (Prouty) in 2012, sister Harryette Hummel, and leaves behind a sister Carol George, son Jim Vail (Madeleine Drake Vail) and daughter Karen Vail, both of Steamboat. Please honor him by donating to Strings in the Mountains or the Yampa River Botanic Park. A celebration of life will be held this summer.
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