Lifelong North Fork Valley resident, Beebe Grace Townsend, passed away Saturday, August 1, 2015, at her home on Rogers Mesa in Hotchkiss surrounded by her family.
Beebe Grace Austin was born on the family homestead on Stewart Mesa in Paonia to the late Sevolia E. and Grace Zona Hall Austin on Sept. 25, 1925. A proud pioneer of the North Fork Valley, Beebe was a graduate of Hotchkiss High School with the class of 1943. That same year on April 18th she married the love of her life H. Emory Townsend at the Friends Church in Paonia. They were blessed with three children, Patricia, Bonnie and Eddie. She and Emory shared an amazing 72 years together. In 1957, Beebe was the Co-Carrier alongside Emory for the Ragged Mountain Mail Route. This is a task they shared until her death. They also worked together at the Pan American Seed Company in Paonia where Beebe was a supervisor for many years setting the example of hard work ethic to several folks around the valley as well as school kids during summer break. She and Emory made several trips to Florida helping relocate the seed company after it was purchased by another party. Some may also remember Beebe as the receptionist at the North Fork Medical Clinic.
When she was more able Beebe loved to volunteer her time cooking at Camp ID-RA-HA-JE West as well as Quaker Ridge Church Camp in Woodland Park. She enjoyed being "Camp Cook" at many of the hunting camps with her family and close friends as well as horseback riding, downhill skiing, gardening and snowmobiling. She and Emory enjoyed traveling and when they did they always made it an adventure never returning the same way they went; often over mountain passes out of their way. They loved to camp together with their family and friends and did so just weeks prior to her death.
Those grateful to have shared in Beebe's life include her husband Emory; two daughters, Patricia Shaffer and husband Doug and Bonnie Pace and husband Art, all of Hotchkiss; one son, Eddie Townsend also of Hotchkiss. She is further survived by 10 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, 10 great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Along with her parents she was preceded in death by four sisters, Zula Bailey, Roberta Tunks, Uula West and Wanda Smith; and two brothers, S.E. Austin and Joe Jack Austin.
A visitation for family and friends will be held on Thursday, Aug. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mountain View Bible Church in Lazear. Services will be held on Friday, Aug. 7, at 1 p.m. at the church with Pastor Jim Jesser officiating. Interment will follow at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Paonia with Pastor Gaylin Kinser presiding.
Memorial contributions may be made in Beebe's memory to Camp ID-RA-HA-JE West, 27862 CR 12, Somerset, CO 81434.
Thanks to the efforts of state Rep. Millie Hamner, House District 61, Colorado State University plans to re-open the Rogers Mesa research site.
The facility was taken out of operation in 2011, due to budget cuts throughout the CSU system.