MEEKER I The saying might be “dance like nobody’s watching,” but in the Richardsons’ case, lots of folks have been watching. Lifelong square dancers Wilbur and Lois Richardson were inducted into the Colorado West Area Square Dance Council’s Hall of Fame Aug. 26. Wilbur and Lois have danced with the Colorado West Area Square Dancing Council for 48 years. They have been involved in several square dance clubs including the Jeans and Janes in Craig, the Happy Squares in Meeker, Greenridge Mountaineers in Oak Creek and Hayden, Buttons and Bows in Rifle, Yampa Valley Squares in Craig, the Meeker Squares and the Shadow Mountain Squares. They have served as everything from club presidents to treasurers to being the “angels” for the associations, which means teaching new members how to dance. They were fortunate enough to dance locally with the Meeker clubs until the clubs folded for varying reasons. Wilbur was born in Rifle and moved to Meeker when he was 18 months old. His family farmed and worked on ranches in the area. Lois was also raised in the area. Her family moved here when she was just a few months old. Her father was a miner in the area. Square dancing has been a part of their lives since they were 9 and 10 years old. Their families were friends and spent a great deal of time together. They started with the “old-time” dancing at the country schoolhouse dances they attended with their parents. Wilbur left home to join the Army when Lois was in her teenage years.“I was just my brother’s skinny little sister until after Wilbur came home from the Army and noticed that I wasn’t a skinny little kid anymore,” Lois said. The two started dating and were married two years later when she was graduated from Meeker High School in June 1956. They shared a love for dancing and started in various small clubs around the area. Along the way they were blessed with two sons and two daughters. Rod, Twila, Tiger (Lewis) and LaDonna. They are proud of their 23 grandchildren and their spouses, and their 22 great-grandchildren. With great pride Lois says, “We don’t have any step grandchildren. Step is a four-letter word we don’t use.” They believe Meeker has been a fantastic place to raise their children and both said, “This is our home.”Wilbur worked for the sheriff’s department as a radio dispatcher and as an undersheriff for six years. He worked for the Town of Meeker for two years and the Meeker Feed Store for nine years. He then was hired by the Rio Blanco County Road and Bridge department and worked there for 25 years. Wilbur retired in December 1997. Lois worked as a waitress and then got involved with the Meeker school system as a paraprofessional in the business department. She worked for First National Bank of the Rockies for three years and then back to the school system as a paraprofessional for 16 years and a bus driver for 21 years. She retired in 2004. Since their retirement, the couple enjoys traveling with their fifth-wheel camper, attending as many square dance festivals as possible. They are so committed to square dancing they have attended events in Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Montana and California. The only thing that held them back from dancing events were illnesses and surgeries along the way. The time and effort they’ve invested in the square dancing associations is well-deserving of their hall of fame status. The two have been married 55 years and still dance at every opportunity, enjoying the exercise and mental activity square dancing demands. They have passed down their appreciation for life and sincere family values. Their home is filled with antiques and collectibles, and the even more prized family pictures. In one picture, Lois wears a gown hand-sewn for their 50th anniversary by their daughter Twila, “because she (Lois) did not have one on her wedding day.” Lois and Wilbur have held on to to a piece of our history, and have had fun doing it. Congratulations to them for their square dancing achievements and for holding on to an art form for the benefit of future generations.
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