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RANGELY I From time to time, in what is often the most unpredictable moment, someone comes along and makes a significant impact on our life. Perhaps it is due to the field in which they work, the manner in which they conduct themselves, or simply a gift. In the case of Michelle Huber of Rangely, it has a great deal to do with upbringing and family.
Michelle’s parents, Frank and Anita (Tiny) Usery, were married May 4, 1947 in the log home of Anita’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Osborn. They had only dated six months prior to their marriage but they proved to have significant staying power as they shared 62 years of marriage.
Their first date was when they were best man and bridesmaid for Lillian and Rudy Beck. Frank taught Anita to drive in his 1930 Chevrolet coupe.
Frank came to Rangely after he and his older brother Ferd got out of the service. Frank served from December 1942 to December 1945 as a tail gunner in a B-17. He had come back to the States to learn how to be a gunner on a B-29, but the war ended and he was discharged from service.
He and Ferd heard there was work in Rangely and were hired on the spot with the California Company as Rangely was booming at the time. Frank worked there for the next 39 and a half years. There was a significant shortage of housing at the time so Frank and Ferd lived in a tent with a few pieces of metal for a roof. Frank was saving up money for his upcoming marriage so he slept on the floor and gave his brother the bed. Following their marriage, Frank and Anita were given a camp house to live in and they were thrilled with the arrangement, despite the fact the bathroom and shower facilities for the entire camp was a bath house and there was no running water in their camp house.
For entertainment, they shot .22’s at mice that peeked their heads up through the floor boards. Anita said she got to be a fairly good shot doing this. The housing got better with time and through the years the couple raised six kids in the four different houses they had.
Anita came to Rangely following her high school graduation in the fall of 1945. Her father worked for Storey’s Electrical Company installing electricity to the town. He set the light poles in Rangely and in the camps. Anita recalls the lights of the oil field making the town look like a large city when they first arrived, only to find out in the morning that they were derrick lights on the drilling rigs. There was a dirt road down the center of town.
Her parents bought a motel and when the oil field men would go to work for their 12 hour shifts, they quickly cleaned the rooms for the night shift. This was an incredible amount of work every day. Anita worked for Mr. Storey, the trading store called Bannerman’s, the post office, a cleaners and after getting married she worked for the hospital for about four years prior to the birth of her first child in 1964. She went back in 1969.
Frank and Anita’s six children all grew up in the oil field camp and graduated from Rangely High School. Paula (Walter) Spetter of Grand Junction, Burt (Loma) Usery of Greeley, Kitty Sheridan of Grand Junction, Spencer (Kim) Usery also of Grand Junction, Michelle (Chris) Huber of Rangely and Alisa (Jeff) Hill of Wichita Falls, Texas.
Michelle graduated in May 1983 and married Chris Huber June 3. The two have three daughters: Vanessa (Eric) Popham and their daughter Adalyn of Rangely, Rashella (Travis) Peterson of Seminole, Texas, and Sasha who will graduate from the CNCC nursing program on May 5. Through the years, Michelle worked for the Trading Post for several years along with her mom and little sister Alisa. She also worked for Nettie’s Oven and CNCC-writing lab, as well as Rangely Family Medicine. She has worked for Colorado West Mental Health since September 1997. As an office coordinator she worked her way into a full-time position and now has two associate’s degrees from CNCC, as well as a bachelor of science in psychology from Regis University. She received employee recognition awards in 2004 and 2009. Michelle says the awards are ver humbling.
She loves her job because, “It allows me the opportunity to meet many different individuals, possibly aiding them in building resiliency and addressing challenges in their lives,” and added, “I enjoy working with various agencies to serve the community members in a collaborative manner.”
Michelle serves on the Child Protection Team and has served on Generations of Wellness and the Human Resource Council. She and her husband have both volunteered for the 9Health Fair, now the Community Health Fair, for more than 10 years. They are very active in the Catholic Church where they were baptized, married, and had their children baptized.
Michelle loves Rangely because of all the various outdoor activities it offers.
“Rangely is full of people who will reach out to help one another when times are difficult.”
She has seen Rangely go through booms but said it always seems to settle back down.
“I just consider myself so very blessed to have been raised by such incredible people who taught all of us the value of honesty, hard work, family values, and to always keep God the center of our lives.”
It is very clear that Rangely is near and dear to Michelle’s heart through her history of family in the area and she continues to have an invaluable impact on lives in this area.