Nancy Lucky Hughes Eubanks left this earth on April 19, 2015. She was welcomed into this world on Dec. 10, 1935, in Rifle, Colo., by her parents, Clara Belle and Kay Hughes.
Her mother chose the name Nancy after her own mother, a Cherokee Indian named Nancy Jane. Nancy’s dad chose the middle name of Lucky. When folks asked why “Lucky,” Nancy would reply “he wanted me to have lots of it. She joined three older siblings—brother Boyd and sisters Colleen and Jenne Kay. This family of six made its home on Yellow Creek at the 84 Ranch in Rio Blanco County and lived there for several years. While there, the family welcomed a second brother, (John) Torrance, who was delivered by their father at home on the 84 Ranch.
Nancy enjoyed her childhood at the 84 Ranch—playing, swinging on the swing her father built and running through the irrigation flume. She also helped run the ranch as much as a child can by milking, feeding chickens, collecting eggs, gardening, gathering wood for cooking and heat and surviving on a ranch that was 50 miles from the nearest town. Although she was little, she enjoyed helping her dad train horses and it was here that she first discovered how much fun it was to gallop her horse and fly like the wind.
The family moved from the ranch in the early 1940s in time for Nancy to begin first grade. She attended several years of schooling in New Castle and had her first encounter with sorrow when her older brother, Boyd, died. Happiness returned in the fall of 1943, when Nancy helped welcome her baby sister, Grace Wynn, to the family.
That next spring, the family moved to Rifle, where Nancy completed her formal education and was graduated from Rifle High School in 1954. That fall, Nancy joined the United States Air Force, hoping to fulfill a dream of becoming a pilot so she could fly high over the land.
But as the saying goes, “Life happens while you’re making other plans.” When Nancy was stationed in Pensacola, Fla., she met her husband-to-be Jim Eubanks. They married in Arkansas on Oct. 17, 1956. Nancy completed her assignment with the Air Force when she became pregnant with their first son as the Air Force did not yet have provisions for expectant mothers.
Nancy was blessed with her first son, Wesley, on June 26, 1958. When Wesley was a toddler, Nancy’s beloved father, Kay Hughes, died, so Nancy and her son returned to Colorado to be with her mother while her husband, Jim, re-enlisted and served in Saudi Arabia. Once Jim completed that tour of duty, the family of three made its home in Arkansas. There, the family was joined by three more sons, Stanley Kay, James Thomas (Tom) and Torrance Allen. This was a busy time for stay-at-home-mom Nancy with schooling, 4-H projects and boys’ activities. The boys have fond memories of the many walks exploring the land with their mother.
In 1980, the family left Arkansas and moved to Meeker, Colo., to be near Nan’s family. Once the boys did not need a full-time mom at home, Nancy decided it would be good to work outside the home. She began collecting her first paycheck from the CB track on Piceance Creek, working with the security detail. After that, she applied for and began a job as a nurse’s aide. She liked the job because it made her feel good to bring smiles and a bit of daily happiness to those patients at the Meeker Pioneer Nursing Home. From there, she went on to work in the records administration department at the hospital.
When Nancy retired, she began pursuing her passion. Secretly, she was an amateur archaeologist. She loved to go into the hills, and on her walks she searched for discards of the Ute and Fremont cultures. She seemed to have a gift for finding the artifacts and arrowheads that the ancients left in the hills. Even when those friends and relatives who went on walks with her found nothing, she would have something to bring back home whether an arrowhead, a grinding stone or a fossil tooth from the prehistoric animals that once roamed the mountains of Colorado.
In addition to this passion, Nancy was a frequent patron at the New Castle Library, where she checked out books on anything related to the artifacts and geology of Colorado as well as many other subjects. She was an avid reader.
Nancy loved gardening as well. She planted vegetables and flowers and always marigolds (because they were the one flower the chipmunks didn’t eat), and bachelor buttons because blue was her favorite-colored flower. She and Jim planted many kinds of fruit trees at their home on Silt Mesa. In between these pursuits, she liked to go fishing and was always on the lookout for owls. Her home was decorated with all things owl-related.
Nancy was preceded in death by: her parents, (Adron) Kay Hughes and Clara Belle (Raley Hughes) Just; brother Boyd Flemming; and sister Jenne Kay Hughes.
She is survived by: her husband, Jim of Silt, Colo.; children Wesley (Shawna) Eubanks of Blair, Okla., Stanley (Sandy) Eubanks of Cortez, Colo., Tom Eubanks of Meeker, Colo., and Torrance (LaDonna) Eubanks of Boulder, Colo.; grandchildren: Shaun, Brandon, Casey, Amanda and Marinda; her sister, Colleen Fleming Wilson of Grand Junction, Colo.; a brother: (John) Torrance (Connie) Hughes of Meeker, Colo., and Gracie Wynn (Bob) Petrakian of Flanders, N.J.; and great-grandchildren Justice, Cason and Adakin. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She will be missed by all.
A celebration of her life will be held on June 13, 2015. The family kindly requests you make your donation in her memory to your local library.