Celebrating the life of Channing 'Chan' Wagner Welin
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Chan was born 12/5/1935 and spent his childhood in Wheatridge, Colorado. Three of his lifetime passions began at this time, namely fishing, gardening and music. From the age of 5, his uncle, who was an angler, taught Chan the art of fishing; his family’s truck garden developed his knowledge of sustainable gardening; his maternal grandmother taught him music by listening the New York Metropolitan Opera performances on Saturday radio.
In 1958, Chan graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a degree in Petroleum Refining Engineering.
Chan joined Gates Corporation in Denver, then known as Gates Rubber Company. Life was not all work because during these years he plunged into skiing, bicycle racing and mountain climbing, achieving his nearly legendary excellence in each of these activities.
While in Denver, Chan was sought out by Vail Associates in the very early years of its ambitious development of Vail Mountain and the Eagle Valley. Vail ultimately became recognized as a world class destination ski area. His visible activity was managing the Ski Patrol (where his nickname was “The Professor”) but behind the scenes he was designing the ski runs.
After Vail Ski Area had matured, Chan wanted to pursue his passions in a simpler lifestyle and he relocated to south central Montana in 1977. A short time later, a friend from Vail purchased a ranch on the Boulder River south of Big Timber, Montana. Thus began another significant chapter in Chan’s life—that of a Guide and Outfitter. Chan explains this evolution in a radio interview available on the following link: https://mtmemory.org/digital/collection/p16013coll136/id/94/rec/1
In the mid-1980’s, Chan experienced the ultimate life-changing experience when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Since that time, Scripture guided every moment of Chan’s life and filled him with Peace. Friends remember Chan as a ‘kind man’ and also as a ‘godly man’….high tributes indeed. In recent years, Chan made a faith commitment to Jesus Christ and was active in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church of Big Timber, Montana.
Chan is survived by his sister, Diane Thomas, in St. Thomas USVI, and niece, Michelle Thomas, and nephew, Bruce Thomas, both of St. Thomas USVI.
Funeral services will be held Friday, October 30, 2020, at 1PM at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at 910 McLeod Street, Big Timber, Montana. Due to COVID restrictions, attendance is limited to 40 persons. Burial will follow at Mountain View Cemetery in Big Timber.
An informal gathering in Big Timber to celebrate Chan’s life will be announced at a later date.
Reminiscences and anecdotes about Chan are encouraged on the Stenberg Funeral Home website at:
Memorials honoring Chan may be directed to the Sweet Grass Community Foundation or St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, both in Big Timber, or Montana Rescue Mission in Billings, Montana.
God Speed, Chan
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910 McLeod Street
Big Timber, MT 59011
West of Big Timber
Big Timber, MT 59011