Obituary: Sarah Elizabeth Kathryn Delaney Amick

Sarah Elizabeth Kathryn Delaney Amick passed away at her home on Feb. 12, 2012, at age 97. She was born on April 13, 1914, to her pioneer parents, James and Anne Carbrey Delaney on their ranch near McAndrews west of White River City (near County Road 5 and Highway 64). She was the eldest of three children, including her brother William Robert Delaney and her younger sister Claire Delaney. Elizabeth was named in honor of her grandmother Sarah Durkin Delaney who, with her grandfather John, also had a ranch home in that area.
One of her favorite stories was when Ute Chief Colorow visited her grandmother Sarah’s home carrying a freshly killed deer which he sold to her for $1 and her grandmother cooked the venison. They developed a close and friendly relationship and invited the Utes to stay and share meals and the Ute women provided a goat and lambs for the Delaney children as there were very few white settlers in that area at the time. Elizabeth met Chief Colorow’s great-granddaughter at the Meeker powwow in 2007 and shared that story with her.
Elizabeth attended school in White River City and later in Meeker with her brother Bob and sister Claire where they stayed at a home at Fourth and Water streets during school days. On weekends they would return to the ranch home at McAndrews, riding down on the mail stage. Since their home was on the opposite side of the White River, it was necessary to walk across a narrow cable bridge to reach the road and was often risky crossing during high water.
An avid horsewoman, Elizabeth enjoyed riding and herding cattle with her father and often would ask to join her father in deference to staying home and doing housework. Her father James was killed in a tragic horse team accident in 1935 and her mother later supported the family by teaching school.
Elizabeth was graduated from Rio Blanco County High School with the class of 1932 and was the last surviving member of her class. She was united in marriage to Morris Henry Amick following her high school graduation on July 4, 1932, and lived on the Amick Ranch owned by Morris’ father J.D. Amick. To this union were born two children, Robert Dean on July 27, 1943, and Sandra Irene born Dec. 17, 1944. The Amick Ranch was located on County Road 8, just south of the K-T ranch.
As members of the “Greatest Generation” Elizabeth and Morris lived on very meager means during the Great Depression with a monthly wage of $27. World War II brought similar hardships, but in the 1940s they were able to purchase the ranch from J.D. Amick. They later purchased the Clark place with about 2000 acres on Little Beaver and raised dry land wheat, barley and alfalfa. The cattle operation involved seasonal ranch workers and cowboys to manage cattle on a permit near Ripple Creek during the summers. Russ and Myrtle Harp and June and Oma Graham were among the pool riders who served in those roles in the 1950s. Elizabeth designed an avant-garde ranch kitchen with knotty pine cabinetry and counters built by Glenn Glasgow, and installed one of the first electric dishwashers and electric stoves.
Family gatherings for Christmas, Thanksgiving, July 4 picnics and much more were favorite activities in both Meeker and Glenwood Springs. Elizabeth delighted in riding horseback on a sidesaddle in the annual Fourth of July Range Call parade in her black velvet riding habit and feathered hat depicting pioneer women of yesteryear. She frequently rode at the ranch and on cattle drives, and continued her enthusiasm for riding while a sorority house director in Boulder. She was a member of the Meeker Saddle Club and enjoyed square dancing at the Mesa Schoolhouse. She was a lifelong member of the Rio Blanco County Stockgrower’s Association and served as president of the Cowbelles association for cattlewomen on several occasions. She worked closely with the Soil Conservation District and Women’s Club on the School Conservation poster contests with Kay Bivens and Phyllis Lake.
During those years Elizabeth was renowned for being a community service activist and advocate, and served in many roles as a member and president of the Fortnightly Club, the Meeker Women’s Club and Mesa Club. She worked actively to promote the building of the Meeker Public Library as part of the Meeker Women’s Club efforts in the Fairfield Community Center. She was also a Moffat district and state president, and chair of international affairs of the Colorado General Federation of Women’s Clubs. She was honored to represent the GFWC at state and national conventions and was a delegate to the U.S. State Department where she learned of many important developments including those of the emergence of terrorist activities in the middle east that eventually resulted in the 9/11 tragedies.
Elizabeth also chaired the Minnie L. Harding scholarship fund with the GFWC. She was a Cub Scout den mother, a Bluebird Campfire Girl leader, a 4-H leader for the electric and dressmaking clubs and attended state 4-H conventions with her children. She visited the 1960 Boy Scout National Jamboree at Colorado Springs where her son Robert was an Explorer and Eagle Scout. She was credited with starting the Meeker School Lunch program at the elementary school in 1949 while serving as president of the Fortnightly Club and of the Parent-Teacher Association. Before Meeker had a swimming pool, Elizabeth drove local children to the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool for Red Cross swimming lessons several times per week in the summers. She was an avid member and historian with the Rio Blanco County Historical Society for many years, contributing to the wealth of knowledge recorded from conversations with her pioneering parents and her Aunt Mary Delaney Oldland, who had settled in the White River City area in 1884. She was instrumental in the drive to build Pioneers Hospital and served as a Red Cross home nursing instructor and first aid instructor for many years in the community, teaching first aid and home health care to many Meeker mothers and others.
Elizabeth was a lifelong member of the Democratic party and served as a precinct committee woman, as well as attending state democratic conventions with her friend Phyllis Wigington. In 1956 and in 1960 she served as a delegate and was fortunate to meet candidates Adlai Stevenson and President John. F. Kennedy. President Kennedy sent her a personal letter thanking her for her support of his campaign in 1960 which she treasured for years. Elizabeth was privileged to meet Eleanor Roosevelt at local receptions when she visited her son Elliot at their rolling R Ranch near Buford.
Elizabeth was an active member of Holy Family Catholic Parish since childhood and served on the Altar and Rosary Society and the Denver Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women and the Glenwood Springs Deanery. The first Catholic Mass in Meeker was celebrated at the John and Sarah Delaney ranch in 1894. Elizabeth was honored to travel to Denver for World Youth Day in 1993 where she met Pope John Paul II. While living in Glenwood Springs, Elizabeth was a member of St. Stephen’s Catholic parish.
The Amick ranch was sold in 1966 and Elizabeth purchased her present home at 789 Fourth St. in Meeker from the Marshall Steen family. Her favorite car was a very sporty 1967 Buick Riviera with all the features, and she was sometimes referred to as “Auntie Mame” by her fraternity and sorority students and by her family for her fearless, creative and daring approach to life and was an inspiration to the many youth whose lives she touched. She transported her daughter Sandy’s favorite mare Nicky Deuce to Colorado State University so she could enjoy riding while attending the university.
Elizabeth was invited to become a house director for several fraternities and sororities at the University of Colorado at Boulder between 1968 and 1978 by her friend Agnes Fredericks. Her son Robert was graduated from the university and was employed there, so Elizabeth was able to be close to family during those years while still summering in Meeker and Glenwood Springs and maintaining her rental properties in Meeker. Elizabeth served as house director with two fraternities and with Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority and later the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority which was her final tenure before retiring and returning to Glenwood Springs in 1978 where she lived for 27 years in the Manor II Apartments built by her brother Robert. In Glenwood Springs she enjoyed being involved in social and community service activities with her sister-in-law Connie Delaney and her brother Robert, and their children, Rob, Diane and Ralph. She was a member of the Valley View Hospital Auxiliary and enjoyed many other community activities.
As a descendant of a pioneer and fully Irish family lineage, a highlight of her life was a two-week tour of her ancestral family origins in Ireland in 1968 with her son Robert. She kissed the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle wearing a red dress and rode a horse cart to the famed Lakes of Killarney, and was rowed by boat across the lakes to a beautiful Irish village and cottages with red roses. She enjoyed visiting ancient castles and ruins of churches and especially the Irish people who were fascinated with her Irish heritage and family origins in Dublin. She visited Irish castles where mead and old-time cuisine were served, stayed at the Great Southern hotel and visited Dublin’s Trinity College where the ancient and beautifully crafted Book of Kells is on display.
A prolific photographer, Elizabeth took thousands of photos of her lifetime of ranching, community and public service activities, and family gatherings which she shared with her family and organizations. She loved fine art and purchased a wonderful and award winning seascape painting by the late Claire Sullivan who was also a close friend. She also was given two very old English tapestries by her Aunt Mary Delaney Oldland which she proudly displayed in her living room.
Elizabeth is survived by her children Robert Amick and Sandra (McKay) (Harold) Bradfield, her niece Diane Delaney, her nephews Rob Delaney and Ralph (Betty) Delaney, her grandchildren Hank (Carmen) McKay, Brooke [McKay] (Dean) Mantle, Haley [McKay] (Bill) Kracht, her great-grandchildren Tyler McKay, Bailey Mantle, Doak Mantle, Joe McKay, her great-nieces Laurie Delaney and Alexsis Silva-McKay, and her great-nephew Ryan Delaney. She was preceeded in death by her parents, her brother Robert and sister Claire, her grandparents John and Sarah Durkin Delaney, her uncles Frank Delaney, Joe Delaney, Ed Delaney; her aunts Bess McGuire, Sally Martin, and Mary Delaney (Ambrose) Oldland, and her cousin and dear friend, Margaret Oldland Fremin.
The family of Elizabeth is very proud of their cherished and beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and aunt, and is honored to have shared her love, enthusiasm for life, her Irish wit and sense of humor, her contributions and unselfish dedication to family, community, public service to youth, preservation of family and pioneer history, and a zeal for living to the fullest and most creative measure during her 97 years of exemplary life.
A Rosary service and viewing will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church at 9th and Park Ave. on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. conducted by Deacon Bill Ertmer.
A funeral mass at Holy Family Catholic Church will be celebrated by Father Jim Fox on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. Interment will be at the family plot at Highland Cemetery following the mass. A luncheon for family and friends will be held following interment, at the Holy Family Church Annex.
Farnum and Holt Funeral Home of Glenwood Springs has been entrusted with arrangements.
In remembrance of Elizabeth, donations may be made to the Colorado Federation of Women’s Clubs Minnie L. Harding Scholarship fund or the Rio Blanco County Historical Society. Please contact the family for details at 970-878-4311 c/o Brooke Mantle.