Listen to this post
RANGELY I In a time when the media is filled with political uproar and all that is negative in the world, it’s refreshing to talk with people who are positive and upbeat. The Fairchilds from Rangely are the kind of people for whom “the glass is always half full,” never half empty.
Bob and Phyllis moved to Rangely in 1958 from Great Bend, Kan. Work was scarce in Kansas and plentiful in Rangely. Bob, however, was concerned about his wife’s first impression of Rangely so he brought his family to town under cover of darkness. He need not have worried.
“I fell in love with Rangely from the start,” Phyllis said. “It is the people that make the town.”
When they first got to town Bob went to work for Joe Seabaum. There was an apartment in the back of the filling station right across the street from the Chevron buildings and the Fairchilds lived there for some time as they were getting their feet on the ground. Bob worked at the filling station for a couple years before getting hired on with Chevron, where he would remain for three decades. He started in production but ended as a foreman for the gas side of the company.
“The oil companies have been good to our family,” Phyllis said.
They rented a few different houses before they built their current home in 1961.
Their oldest son Rob had attended a one-room school in Kansas and when they arrived in Rangely he was tested to see if he was ready to finish his second grade year. He performed well on the tests and started school in Rangely. He was graduated from Rangely High School in 1969. His younger brother Bryan attended Rangely schools from kindergarten until his graduation in 1976. Rob went to college in Rangely for two years and then to Greeley where he taught history before getting hired with Chevron. He’s now with Berry Consultants in Fruita.
Phyllis began working after her youngest son started high school and worked at the snack bar at the college where she remained for 36 years. She enjoyed having the students around all the time and continued working until she was 76.
Bob and Phyllis have five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren with another one on the way this month.
“I still feel young enough to get on the floor and play with the kids,” Phyllis stated. After 65 years of marriage they are blessed to have their health and a family they are so proud of.
They have spent their lives following their kids in all their sporting and recreational activities. Rob played football, wrestled and played baseball. Bryan played football, basketball and baseball. They were very successful athletes and that was in great part due to the endless support of their parents. Bob and Phyllis would fill their station wagon full of kids and attend baseball games in Grand Junction, Craig, Steamboat, Rifle and wherever else the games were scheduled.
Phyllis helped start the first concessions for games. She remembers buying hamburger and making balls they would smash down with cans to sell. She remembers that the kids did not have to pay to participate. Donations and support came form the community and the kids just played. They bought a boat and enjoyed many family outings and she fondly recalls kids sledding near their home and then coming in for chili and hot chocolate.
Bob coached both boys in baseball and helped with the park fields and the community ball teams. They always had kids around the house and supported their children in all they did. They feel so fortunate to have seen their grandchildren participate in activities and now their great-grandchildren are getting involved as well. They are avid Bronco fans and love the Nuggets and Rockies as well. They remain very sports-minded people.
They don’t travel too far as Phyllis says, “I won’t fly, and the cruise ships look big at port but out in the ocean they are tiny.” She sees no reason to get on one of those ships, but they have enjoyed the best of life, spending it with family and for their family. Although they’ve been touched by tragedy — losing their son Bryan to cancer five years ago — they choose to look at the positives. They appreciate what they have and continue to “enjoy each other” after all these years.
When asked what has changed the most in Rangely, Phyllis said, “The town doesn’t change much. In some ways it has but it is still a wonderful place.” She added, “Rangely has always been home to us.”
She recalls the way their kids made their own fun and were busy. Certainly, the Fairchilds have seen more sporting events then many people can imagine and they have and continue to do whatever they can to support their family. They are like so many in declaring they don’t have an exciting story to tell, but their life full of family, following kids and appreciating one another, is indeed a testament of success. Their attitude of believing they are already blessed is truly uplifting, and one that could serve as an incredible example in the world we live in. If we can all be inspired to say thanks for the small things that make the big things, we might all see the glass as half full like they do.