Obituary: Judy Jenista

Judith Jenista

Judith Jenista
Judith Marie Jenista
Judith Marie Jenista (Evenson) was born in Glenwood Springs, Colo., on May 9, 1943 to Gerhard and Jeanette Evenson. She was raised on the family ranch known as Evenson Guest Ranch, east of Meeker, Colo. Growing up she was a crucial member of the haying operation, especially the irrigating which she shared duties with her younger brother Raymond. During the long summers she also helped her dad monitor the Miller Creek Ditch in between cleaning cabins and in her spare time rode her favorite horse “Brownie.” Judy was graduated from Meeker High School in 1961.
Judy met the love of her life, Marion “Chief” Jenista, right after high school, who was working for the DOW monitoring an elk grazing project in the White River Valley. She went on to Colorado State University to pursue her physical education and science majors and finished with a Bachelor’s degree. Judy and Marion were married on Feb. 13, 1962. Soon after, she moved to Alabama where Marion was stationed as an MP in the U.S. Army. After being discharged from the U.S. Army, they moved back to Meeker to help her father with his guide and outfitting business in the Flat Tops Wilderness.
Judy and Marion moved back to Ft. Collins and then to Estes Park where they started their own landscape and nursery business called Chief’s Native Landscaping and Nursery. Judy was a full time physical education and science teacher for the Estes Park School District. While teaching, she implemented a golf and gymnastics program and also coached track and field.
In 1970, Judy resigned to a part-time substitute teaching position while getting their business in full swing and having their first daughter, Shaleen. In 1973, their second daughter, Janelle, was born. Three years later, they added onto the original 2,100 sq. ft. building, enlarging it to more than 7,000 sq. ft. of sales area and incorporated a cut flower department and a full-size greenhouse. The business progressed and reputation grew. They changed their business name to Judy’s Flowers and Chief’s Landscaping, and were well known for their expertise in floral and landscape design. Judy’s passion for antiques and collectibles was incorporated into the business as well.
Judy’s Flowers and Chief’s Landscaping were asked to design all the flower arrangements for some very prestigious events such as: welcoming the Pope, the Emperor of Japan, and for sets and actors of the movies Stephen King’s “The Shining,” and “Dumb and Dumber,” both of which were filmed at the historic Stanley Hotel. They were notorious for wedding design and special events. Their eye for design and reputation gained them three separate documentaries in Country Living magazine.
Judy was known for her daily morning radio ad and joke of the day at the local radio station. She was fun loving and always had a great attitude, you could always catch a smiling glimpse of Judy in her pink bunny suit delivering arrangements bringing a smile to everyone’s face during the Easter holiday.
Judy and Marion decided in 1998 to sell the family business and move back to her beautiful hometown of Meeker to take care of her parents. They then returned to the ranch she grew up on where she enjoyed her days with her family and close friends. She loved trail riding, traveling, playing cards and keeping up with her grandchildren. At the ranch you could see her cruising around on her four-wheeler with her Corgi co-pilot. Most evenings she spent her time on her patio watching the beautiful river valley and enjoying the wildlife.
Judy passed away Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, surrounded by her family at the Meeker Pioneers Hospital. She is survived by her loving husband of almost 51 years, Marion “Chief” Jenista of Meeker, Colo.; two daughters, Shaleen Duell and husband Dale and their two children Alexandra and Trevyn of Estes Park, Colo., and Janelle Urista and husband Paul and their two children Andrea and Lauren of Meeker, Colo., and many nieces, nephews and cousins. She is preceded in death by both of her parents, Gerhard and Jeanette Evenson; oldest sister Darlene Soper; older brother Keith Evenson and younger brother Raymond Evenson.
A private service will be held this summer for a gathering of close friends and family.