Hester-Jane Butcher Cogswell
July 30, 1912~Dec. 7, 2008
Hester-Jane Butcher Cogs-well, 96, died on Dec. 7, 2008, in Meeker, Colo. She was born July 30, 1912 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Hester-Jane was the daughter of D.Y. Butcher, a pharmacist and businessman in Colorado Springs, and Hester C. Butcher.
Hester-Jane lived through the flu epidemic of 1919 when she and her mother moved to Green Mountain Falls to avoid the epidemic.
As a child during the Depression, Hester-Jane rode with her father to deliver packages to a customer who lived in Pine Valley, north of Colorado Springs.
Many years later, Hester-Jane and her husband bought the same house she had visited with her father. The history of the home inspired her to write a book about its role in Colorado Springs history from the time it was homesteaded to its current use as the residence of the commandant of cadets at the United States Air Force Academy.
Hester-Jane attended Colorado Springs High School and was graduated from The Colorado College in 1935. Hester-Jane was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, starting a tradition carried on by several granddaughters who also joined the sorority. Her lifelong commitment to education is reflected in a scholarship named in her honor at The Colorado College.
Hester-Jane Butcher and Wilton W. Cogswell, Jr. were married Aug. 24, 1935. They lived in Kansas City while he attended dental school. Their first daughter, Joan, was born in 1936. A son, Wilton W. Cogswell, III (Buster), followed in 1938. Wilton joined his family’s dental practice in Colorado Springs in 1938. A second daughter, Ann, was born in 1941.
Wilton joined the Navy after the outbreak of World War II, and was stationed near San Francisco, Calif. Hester-Jane moved with her children to the Stags’ Leap Vineyard in Napa Valley, which had been turned into housing for the families of servicemen. A third daughter, Sally, was born there in 1944.
Hester-Jane and her four young children moved back to Colorado, living in Colorado Springs and Carbondale at the Rogers ranch. Wilton returned from the war in 1945 and resumed dentistry with his father, Dr. Wilton W. Cogswell, Sr., and two brothers, Drs. Walter and Kenneth Cogswell, at their family dental practice in Colorado Springs.
Hester-Jane and Wilton’s last two sons followed: David Yerby in 1947, and Gary Alan in 1949. The young family lived in Broadmoor and was active in horse shows, 4-H, and many outdoor activities. Hester-Jane became very active in the community, and served as president of the Junior League of Colorado Springs.
In the early 1950s, the Cogswells moved north of Colorado Springs to Pine Valley, to the beautiful Spanish-style home Hester-Jane and her father delivered packages to during the Depression. The family enjoyed the outdoor lifestyle afforded by the area, and it was in the library of that great house that Hester-Jane discovered the diaries that would spark a life-long passion. The diaries chronicled several families who settled the land in the late 1800s. They described how the house began as a small cottage, and was expanded more than 50 years to become a large, gracious and formal Spanish-style home.
Hester-Jane became fascinated with the history of the home and the surrounding land, and devoted the rest of her life to researching and writing about it. Her book about the Pine Valley home, which is soon to be published, is called “Pine Valley- A Window to the Early History of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Air Force Academy.”
The home and ranch was ultimately acquired by the United States Air Force Academy in the mid-1950s and the Cogswell family moved south to Woodmen Valley, just north of Colorado Springs.
Hester-Jane received her teaching certificate in the early 1960s at The Colorado College and began teaching at Woodman Valley Elementary School. She taught school for four years, before the family moved again. In 1966, the family purchased a ranch belonging to Mabel and Carl Wunderly near Trapper’s Lake in Meeker, Colo. Wilton ranched and practiced dentistry in Meeker while Hester-Jane taught elementary school for about three years.
During the last 40 years in Meeker, Hester-Jane enjoyed hosting large and boisterous family gatherings at “The Ranch”— practically running a family bed and breakfast — and generously hosted countless family friends who came to fish, hunt, hike and enjoy the outdoors. She kept a lovely and warm home that was always filled with friends, family, and interesting strangers who dropped by to tell their stories. Countless family members and friends turned to her for her wisdom and calm, logical thinking.
Hester-Jane was an enthusiastic member of the Meeker community, including the Fortnightly Bridge Club and the Brown Bag Lunch Club. She was a lifetime member of the Buford Community Club and the Rio Blanco County Historical Society. Hester-Jane was also deeply appreciative of the efforts of the community and the Meeker Volunteer Fire Department, which saved her home from a fire in 1983.
Hester-Jane’s knowledge and love of history was called upon by the Stags’ Leap Vineyard, when she helped compile a history of the vineyard for its new owners, the Beringer Wine Company. She was also featured in the PBS special “Gem of the Rockies,”a television documentary commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the U.S Air Force Academy.
Hester-Jane was vibrant and was always interested in keeping up with the times. She became an avid Internet user, playing bridge online and keeping up with her large extended family by e-mail. Hester-Jane enjoyed her large family of six children, 17 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews and their children. Hester-Jane was preceded in death by her husband, Wilton, and a grandson, Robert Donner, III.
A celebration of life is tentatively planned for Memorial Day weekend 2009. The family will notify friends and relatives of the date and time. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her name may be made to the Hester-Jane Butcher Cogswell Scholarship Fund: c/o The Colorado College, Gift Records, 14 E. Cache La Poudre, Colorado Springs, CO 80903 , or to the Meeker Volunteer Fire Department.
Hester-Jane Butcher Cogswell