Fred Rector, long time owner of Kachina Kitchen in the Centennial Mall and a consistent winning drag racer with Chevrolet powered cars, died Sept. 15, 2020 in Durango. He was 80.
The cause was a cancer of the blood.
Fred purchased a Kachina Kitchen franchise in 1982 at the time the Durango Mall opened, then relocated to the Centennial Mall in order to set his own hours and to have his own front door. The franchise company soon failed and Fred continued with the only remaining Kachina Kitchen restaurant.
Fred enjoyed people and mixing with his mostly noon time diners, many of whom were frequent regulars. The menu was heavy with beef, cheese and flour with no heart-friendly labels, but he said that was what his customers wanted,. It worked.
Barbara Martinez, who was Kachina Kitchen's manager, has continued the restaurant as owner.
Fred graduated from Durango High School where he played varsity basketball, and briefly attended Fort Lewis College.
In the 1960s through the early 2000s Fred built and raced 283, 327 and 350 cubic inch Chevrolets at drag racing tracks in the Southwest. He was a good mechanic and driver, and his cars were well prepared. He held several NHRA national and track class records.
Fred served in the Colorado National Guard for eight years in the 1960s and early 1970s, attaining the rank of staff sergeant. He ran the mess hall for the local guard unit, headquartered in the North Main Avenue building where the Boys and Girls Club is now.
Before opening Kachina Kitchen, Fred was employed by Rio Grande Motorway delivering freight. During high school he managed the concession stand and sold tickets at the Kiva Theater in downtown Durango.
Fred was born in Lawrence, Kansas on July 13, 1940. He was raised by his mother, Marge Lehna and her husband Ray Lehna. They moved to Albuquerque and then to Durango, arriving in 1949.
Fred was divorced from his first wife, Sandy Johnson, in 1980. His second wife, Carolyn Warner, died in 2010. He is survived by his high school classmate and significant other, Sandra S. Jefcoat.
A service for Fred was held at Greenmount Cemetery on Sept. 19, 2020.
Pall bearers were Gary McGlasson, Bobby DeArmond, Rich Ahrens, Tim Holt, Bob Watson and Kelly Lane.
Published in Pine River Times on Sep. 25, 2020.