Denver C. Dream
Born: October 26, 1932; Lanark
Died: March 29, 2020
LANARK – Denver Sr. and Ida (Krauss) Traum gave birth to Denver Conrad Traum on October 26, 1932 in Lanark, IL. The parents moved around a little before settling east and south of Milledgeville Il. Here his love for horses began to grow. As a young boy, he walked behind a team of horses that pulled a section across a planted cornfield. Growing up, he also loved horse riding. In one particular case, he bought a neighbor’s horse that was just a little “wild”. His father asked him, “Why did you buy that thing?” Denver just shrugged. It wasn’t long before he had this horse trained for car racing. He would ride in the pasture if a car came down the street and the race would start.
Denver graduated from Milledgeville High School in 1950. He continued to work on the family farm until he volunteered for two years in the army from 1953 to 1955. In Detroit, MI, he met his soon-to-be wife, Marlene Miracle. After their release, they traveled back to their hometown of Wellington, KS, where he briefly worked for the Water Authority. His love was agriculture, and since Marlene was a town girl, he explained to her what agriculture meant and she thought it would be okay to become a farmer. They moved back to Milledgeville and were married on November 16, 1956 in the Little Brown Church in Nashua, IA. They rented a farm northwest of Mount Carroll, IL and ran it with a team of mules and tractors. It was here that Marlene gave birth to a daughter, Cindy Jo, on September 1, 1957. After 3 years, an opportunity arose on a 400 acre dairy farm northeast of Milledgeville. He literally worked his tail off for 3 years, milked 60 cows and farmed the land. In December 1962, Denver and Marlene decided to sell. Somebody asked Denver what he was going to do. He said, “I think I would like to farm in the hills.” In early 1963, Denver and Marlene bought a farm at Polsgrove Rd, RR 3, Mount Carroll, IL. A few months later, Mark Allen was born on May 2nd. This was home for the rest of Denver’s life.
With Denver’s gifts and talents, he had a knack for repairing and repairing worn-out machines. He loved the challenge of buying a machine that had seen its better days and then getting it working again. He converted manure spreaders, built a hay conveyor for the barn, built horsepower, and created a single-row, horse-drawn, ground-powered corn picker! These are just tiny examples of the things Denver created and made on the farm.
When Denver moved to Polsgrove, horses always had to be on the farm. Dragging from dung, sewing oats, planting maize, growing maize, mowing hay, raking hay, cutting maize with the maize binder, up to loading and unloading hay, oats and maize with the horses. There were always horses at work in the yard. Denver also drove a render truck, a job he had for nearly 35 years.
In the early 1980s, Denver began fulfilling a lifelong dream by raising registered blond Belgians to work and exhibit on the farm. He was able to acquire and raise a few stallions, enough to attend most trailer classes on a trailer wagon he had built himself from a walnut log from the farm. This show car and farm came to be known as Woodland Hills Farm. He loved to show his horses at the 3 annual fairs; Carroll, Boone and Whiteside.
Although Denver had a deep love for the farm and horses, he was equally fond of his family. Denver and Marlene went their separate ways in 1969. But her love for her children never let up. As children we always had more than enough to make a living. As a single parent, our father took on the responsibility of bringing up 2 small children. He never complained, as always, he took responsibility. His reprimands got straight to the point and then went on in love. He never resented anything and was there to shape us into our own passions in life. Then he liked to step back and watch and marvel as his daughter and son grew up. Denver was the anchor Cindy and Mark could always rely on.
Denver had a special way of seeing people for who they are, where they are, and loving them as much. This was evident when spouses came along. Cindy married John Peterson and Mark married Teresa Bellich. The grandchildren stayed away in his heart. Hannah, he claimed, got all of her book wisdom from him. We don’t know how. Denver was barely a C grade high school student, that’s modest. Hannah was the farewell speaker from Sycamore High. She then did her doctorate. He was very proud of her and her achievement. Karissa was in the choir in high school and Grandpa loved seeing her perform as often as possible. He told her that his favorite song they sang was Chapel of Love. Karissa married Todd Matteson and together they brought Denver a great-grandson, Parker. When they walked into the room as a family, you could see the light in his eyes. Of course Parker stole the show. Parker hardly got upset, and Denver was always amazed. Eli also had his own special gifts, Eli started playing guitar and went to Charlie’s II in Mount Carroll to open microphones. Eli of all people loved old country music. Denver marveled at Eli how quickly he could pick up, play, and sing songs by ear. They worked together to write two songs together, although it was really special when they sang “I Saw The Light” by Hank Williams together.
Everything that is written is really great, but the biggest thing is that the name of Denver Conrad Dream is written in God’s Book of Life. He believed that Jesus died on the cross for his sins. This was most evident because when he was asked to give scriptures at his mother’s funeral, John 3:16 was given first. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost, but would have eternal life.” After a brief illness, Denver went home on March 29, 2020 to be with his savior. Denver’s life touched many family and friends. He is greatly missed by a sister, Marlyn (Dream) Gleim, Sterling, IL; two children Cindy (John) Peterson Sycamore, IL; Mark (Teresa) Dream Mt. Carroll, IL, 3 grandchildren, Hannah Peterson Boston, MA; Karissa (Todd) Matteson, Durand, IL and Eli Traum, Mount Carroll, IL; a great-grandson of Parker Matteson; and many more family members.
Instead of flowers or gifts, the family is urging donations to the Covid-19 Research Gates Foundation, Gates Philanthropy Partners, PO Box 23350, Seattle, WA 98102.
A memorial / festive service will take place at a later date.
Published by Sauk Valley News on April 7, 2020.