Leona Lavonne (Vonnie) Mueller passed away peacefully at home with her family by her side on August 8, 2018.
Vonnie was born on August 18, 1938 to John Venton and Genevieve (Rose) Wilson in Lebanon, CO.
She spent her younger years between Cortez, CO; Monticello, UT; Bluff, UT; and Yuma, AZ, where she met and married Robert (Bobby) Mueller on November 14, 1956.
Vonnie was the second oldest of four children, Charles, who died as an infant; Johnny Lyn (Buddy), who was killed in a tragic auto accident at the age of 18; and younger sister, Cleta.
Vonnie had an amazingly adventurous, fun, interesting, and successful life!
Her father, John, was a cowboy and a roofer (hence the snowbird lifestyle).
So when she married Bobby, an electrician by trade and musician by heart, they too found they enjoyed a bit of the ‘gypsy’ lifestyle.
It led them to wonderful adventures throughout the western states, mostly playing music after Vonnie learned to play drums in Bobby’s band.
‘Girl’ drummers weren’t common in the 1960’s, but Vonnie loved it, as the hours enabled her to be everything a mother should be the their three children, Jerilyn, Jay and Joy.
She loved all aspects of homemaking, from cooking, baking, reading, gardening, flowers, chickens, old wringer washers and hanging clothes out to dry in the sun by day; and wearing mini-skirts, go-go boots, fake lashes, and ratted/sprayed natural red hair by night!
They were truly a ‘breath of fresh air’ in the music industry and had many opportunities that were politely refused as family life always came first.
Vonnie and Bob settled in Cortez once their children got out of elementary school and opened a bar of their own. This began another creative adventure of various business interests that eventually landed them in Mexican Hat in 1979. This also allowed her to take care of her aging parents who lived in Bluff.
Vonnie loved Mexican Hat even though living there was not always convenient or easy. She loved the local people and made many friends from all over the world, as their business grew into the hospitality industry.
She was the brainchild of the Swingin Steaks, which continues to be a family owned and operated business. She stayed involved and interested until her passing, as she always had a way of making guests feel welcome.
Although Vonnie was a farm girl at heart, she also enjoyed traveling, Lake Powell, camping, jeeps and her favorite mule, Dan, while exploring the backcountry before a back injury slowed her down.
Vonnie loved spending time with her family and had a very strong faith. She was loved for her sense of humor, her wit, and her kind, forgiving heart. That is not to say she couldn’t be a force to reckon with!
She is survived by her husband of nearly 62 years, Bobby Mueller, son Jay Mueller; daughter Joy (Clint) Howell; 14 beloved grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; sister Cleta (Ken) Blevans; and a niece and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Genevieve (Rose) Wilson; brothers Charles and Buddy; daughter Jerilyn (Howard) Whipple; and granddaughter Tracy Mueller.
Vonnie’s ashes will be buried next to her parents at the Bug Point Cemetery on Saturday, August 25 at 1 p.m., where family and friends can gather to reminisce and celebrate a life well lived.
Card of thanks
The family would like to thank the staff at San Juan Hospital and Hospice for their gentle and kind care.