The first name to come out of Monte’s hat is Floyd Joramo. Here’s a Polaroid snapshot.
Floyd started attending UU services in 2000, shortly after the congregation had moved into its first established home, a rental space on Mesa state college, at 1060 North Avenue. Dr. Sandra Lee was the minister at that time. In 2001 he signed the book and became an official member of the Uncompahgre Unitarian Universalist Society. Later that month he decided to attend a Board meeting to find out more about his new congregation. It turned out that they needed a treasurer. He thought it over and volunteered on the spot; after all, he had considerable experience with balancing budgets. They handed him an unbalanced checkbook and wished him good luck. Welcome to the Board Floyd. A few months later he was putting on the congregation’s first Auction fundraiser.
This became a theme for Floyd: see a need, fill it. Yet he chose roles that were a good fit for him. The more he got involved, the more he came to love the UU community; the more he loved the UU community, the more he got involved. What drew him to Unitarian Universalism was its openness and acceptance of all religions. The 7 principles seemed to say all that needed to be said. It seemed to be a good fit for his family. Floyd was raised Lutheran, and Tamara, his wife, Jewish. UUCGV has, for Floyd, become a community that provides a grounded sense of belonging.
Floyd has been heavily involved with stewardship and the auction each year since joining the congregation. He’s been the treasurer of the board, the one and only volunteer coordinator, and a member of the infamous Men’s Cooking Group. It was at Floyd’s house, during a Men’s Cooking auction dinner, that the term “hot oil” was coined. If you haven’t yet heard “hot oil” shouted from the back of the room, followed by laughter, keep your ears open and wait for it. It is a joke that never grows old.
For a period of about a year in 2013/14 Floyd came close to losing his mind (he was possessed by a UU demon?). At the time the congregation was lay-led and trying to determine which leadership structure would work best, including whether we needed a minister. (Ultimately, the congregation embraced the idea that we needed both a strong lay-led and ministerial presence.) UUCGV was also in the process of purchasing, designing and remodeling a new building. During this time Floyd attended meetings for the Leadership Development Team, the Board, the newly forming TLC (The Leadership Circle), the lay-led Team, the Auction Team, the Stewardship Team and the Building Team. For a few months he attended 4 UUCGV meetings a week.
And then the remodeling project began – and Floyd took on the equivalent of a full-time job, for 8 months. There were many 8 to 10 hour days. He logged over 850 volunteer hours! Needless to say, Floyd has a great affinity for the 536 Ouray building. He still gets a little choked up when he enters the building – when he looks around, there isn’t a place that he hasn’t touched.
Floyd has taken off the past year – what a slacker! It is his first year without having a role in church leadership since he became a member in 2001.
I have known Floyd for about 10 years now. He is very kind, yes. He is very intelligent, yes. Yet most of all when I think of Floyd, I think of a very hard worker – determined. Over the years I’ve been to a few meetings with him. I’ve learned that if you want to get stuff done, get Floyd involved. He’s good at getting stuff done. He’s also good at sitting around and talking about getting stuff done, which is a UU stanchion [it’s what UU’s have for breakfast] – committee meetings.
During the interview, when I told Floyd that I was amazed at his tireless energy, his hard work, he said, “it’s the Norwegian.” Floyd began school as a 5-year-old in a one room school in North Dakota. His mother was the one-room teacher. His father was a farmer.
After 2 years at the University of Minnesota, Floyd started Navy flight training at the age of 19. He traveled around the country performing with a Navy drill team.
1962 was a momentous year for Floyd. He was stationed in Hawaii, flying Cold War radar surveillance missions. He met Tamara, and a short time later mailed her a six page proposal letter from Midway Island. He flew radar coverage for the one and only live A-bomb shot from a submarine, from just off South America over 1000 miles to just east of Christmas Island. From a distance 25 miles, he witnessed two A-bombs dropped from B-52s at 35,000 feet onto the edge of Christmas Island. On July 10, 1962 Floyd Maynard Joramo married Tamara Gene Kaufman. Floyd was 23, Tamara 21. Madly in love, Floyd and Tamara took off on a 6 week road-trip honeymoon across the Western and Midwestern United States of America.
At the age of 25 Floyd became a pilot for United Airlines. Three years later Lee was born, and Kim followed two years later. Tamara and Floyd raised the family in Southern California.
Floyd retired from United Airlines after 31 years. Since 1991 he’s run a horse boarding facility on Orchard Mesa. He and Tamara have one grandchild, Kylie, Kim’s daughter. Life goes on... in endless song...