Patricia Craig Johnson, age 82, died on February 11 at Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colorado. She was born June 29, 1935 to Gerald Vuhr Craig and Dorothy Cary Craig in Ottumwa, Iowa. She attended school in Gering, Nebraska. On August 30, 1952, she married Richard W. Meier in Scottsbluff, Nebraska and they were later divorced. They had two daughters, Cindy L. Lewis (Mrs. Don) and Laurie Meier. On September 23, 1983 she married John E. Johnson in Loveland, Colorado. She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Daughters of the American Revolution Friday’s Council Tree Chapter, Daughters of Union Veterans, Sunflower Chapter of Eastern Star in Nebraska, and Larimer County Genealogical Society. She moved to Colorado in 1971 and worked at AMF Head Ski Co in Boulder for ten years. She was an employee of Hewlett Packard Company in Loveland, Colorado for sixteen years. She was a teacher of genealogy and a family history writer. She is survived by her daughters, Cindy (Don) Lewis and Laurie Meier; grandchildren, Chad Lewis, Ryan Lewis, and Logan Currie; great-grandchildren, Jackson and Grant Lewis, Oliver and Stella Lewis, and Kiko Panetta; and a multitude of close friends. Graveside services will be held on Friday, February 23, at 11 am at Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins, Colorado, with reception to follow at 12 pm at the Swallow Ward Church in Fort Collins. In lieu of flowers, Pat’s request is for you to write a note indicating your memories of her so her future family will know her that much better.
I had lots of things to do today, but I just couldn't force myself to work at them. It was just one of those days that I had to get out and drive around a bit. Of course, I headed to my favorite place that is close by, Loveland. My plan was to go to the Fairgrounds Park and sit and meditate for awhile. The place was very crowded with large groups of people gathered to have picnics and reunions and have a good Holiday at the park. And there wasn't a shady spot in the whole parking lot. So I meandered south and west to the lower entrance to the old Hewlett Packard campus. This was my way to work when we lived on North Garfield Street in the 1980's. I know this route very well. Although today there wasn't a guard at the entrance and no one else was around either. I drove to Building B first.
To get there I had to pass Building D. This is now occupied by another company.
Building B was the last one I worked in. About a year before my retirement the Gage and Metrology Lab was moved from Building C to Building B. Things were starting to slow down at that time and we knew things were not going to stay the same for much longer. I had already decided to retire in 1997, but now I seemed more anxious to make it happen. I have always liked to call my own shots about when I left a place I was working. I was not fond of being laid off. I decided I would rather choose it for myself than have that happen.
But today I sat there for a while, recalling the last day I worked there. I left after my retirement party through the door that looks just as it did that day in August 1997. This coming August it will be 20 years since I retired from Hewlett Packard. I pictured in my mind all of the people I saw that day as they came from other divisions, Fort Collins and Greeley, to wish me well on my retirement. So many are not with us anymore. The place was busy and buzzing with activity as I finished my working career there that August. Today it is completely empty and quiet. Although I have to say the property has been maintained very well and it still is a pretty campus. Loveland was the first HP Division built outside of California, and it was always a favorite of Bill and Dave. I can still see them as they visited Loveland. Of course, they are both gone now. It was so neat to see Dave walking around the buildings talking to employees. He was definitely a people person. Bill was a bit more quiet when he visited Loveland, but still a real nice down to earth person.
Building C was my home building for most of my HP career.
Building C was home to the Gage and Metrology Lab from its inception until the move in 1997 to Building B. It was tucked way back in the north west corner of the basement as it needed to be as stable as possible. Vibration is a big enemy of precision measurements. Also temperature and humidity. So it was located and controlled for all of these things. The view you see of Building C is the courtyard where we used to go for our breaks. It was the place the smokers gathered and "shot the bull." There were pretty interesting conversations that took place there. Everything from politics, to rumors, to the latest romances going on in the plant. I can imagine what it would be like these days. When I started to work there in 1981, the area you see with the windows was the Tool & Die Department. Those fellows would always come out to smoke with us and they weren't the bashful type of conversationalists. They were my favorites. It was a fun time and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.
I sat at the back of Building C today and looked out over the completely empty parking lot. I can still see it when it was packed with cars around the clock, every single day -- except maybe Christmas. I looked for the little window that was in the upper outside wall of the east side of the building, but didn't see it anymore. It must have been bricked in. It was a special window where they tested the Laser Distance Meters for accuracy by having it measure the distance from the building to some far off spot. I never did know where the target spot was. What a fascinating place it was to work. And I had the best job in the whole place. I was so blessed to find this wonderful place to work and with such wonderful people.
I finally moved on and went up and around Building C to the area that used to be the cafeteria. It was almost the whole side of Building B. The huge barbecue grills are still outside the main door to the Cafeteria. In the summer they would cook fresh hamburgers out there, and hot dogs as well. It was a huge cafeteria. Eventually they "farmed" it out to an outside vendor, but when I started there the cafeteria employees were Hewlett Packard employees. Things in the world were starting to change in a big way, especially in the business and manufacturing world. At that time people expected to stay with a company until retirement, but unfortunately that thought is not even on the horizon now. I am glad I was in the "old fashioned" days.
Bldg C ⍗ Bldg D⍗
I continued my tour around the four buildings and finally exited out where I came in. I felt good after reliving my pleasant memories. Things and people I haven't thought about in a very long time.
Thanks for joining in my trip down memory lane. We all need to do that once in awhile. I enjoyed it.
Oh my goodness, I have been so lax in keeping up on this blog. This sunset is on the day my 5th great grandchild was born in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.
I guess I have been off of writing because I have been sort of down in the dumps, but today I woke up and I was full of energy (its been missing for awhile) and I had all sorts of things to get done. It was a great feeling to be back somewhat to normal. I am happy that I got my list all completed and I am still feeling good!
In late March I had my first cataract surgery and came through with flying colors. No complications at all. Then April 12, the second surgery and now I am done except for the endless eye drops to be put in each day until the bottles are empty. I swear they are like manna from heaven and just keep filling themselves up in the middle of the night. But is a small price to pay for the excellent vision I have now. I was sort of tied down by not being able to drive at night in anything close to a safe manner. So now I am free of that restriction.
I was pretty busy helping the new President of the Larimer County Genealogical Society get his feet off the ground. It was pretty time consuming but is smoothing out now.
I have also decided to retire from public speaking. The first time I turned down an invitation this year I was tempted to relent, but decided to jump in with both feet and stick to my plan. Its just too hard for me to drive long distances at night so I have to face the facts. I am trying to lessen anxiety as much as possible. However, I sure did enjoy the experience and chance to talk about genealogy to lots of people.
Another new thing is my hobby/relaxation tool of painting in adult coloring books. Its a great relaxer and I have something to show for it afterwards. I read an article that said we should try to do what we enjoyed doing as a kid, I loved to color. But I really like using colored markers rather than colored pencils. It is a fun thing and I try to do a picture per day. I also liked to play jacks as a kid, BUT I couldn't do that now or if I got down on the floor I couldn't get back up, so that may not be the best way to fight anxiety (g)
At any rate I am feeling very good and I have been thinking all day about the LDS Hymn "Come Come You Saints" The last words are "All Is Well" and that is the way I feel today. All Is Well,
Stay tuned, I promise I will be back real soon -- not 10 weeks later. Patj
Gerald Vuhr Craig, born February 26, 2015 in Fulton, Freedom Township, Bourbon County, Kansas. It is hard for me to fathom that my father would be 102 years old this year. Of course, that means I have moved to the top of the chain of life. But that is another story. My dad is the story of the day. What a unique person he was. Every one of us is unique, but he was "extra" unique. All of the trials and tribulations he went through as a young boy and then a young man tempered him into a very strong individual.
How I took for granted that I could grab the phone and talk to him, and I did not do that often enough. How I took for granted he may show up at any time, totally unannounced. I would give anything to be able to sit with him and play our traditional game of Cribbage when we were together. He always beat be, but I still loved the challenge. The strong conversations that usually led to a serious and emotional debate on some subject or another.
I remember the time I rode my Harley to Louisville, Nebraska to see him and I parked my bike up on the small stoop that was at the front door of their home. I had nightmares about how I was going to turn that big machine around when I was ready to leave. It was a just a few minutes and my dad had turned that 850 lb bike completely around so I could just ride down that slope to leave. It looked like he was doing it on a stoop the size of a postage stamp to me. He was quite strong and he was an old man at that time.
The last time I saw him was at his home in Superior, Montana. He was so happy to finally have his dream home in Montana. I was happy for him and Betty. It was a good visit, but I knew as I drove away that I would never see him again.
All I can say now is, "Happy birthday dad." I am proud to have your genes. I am proud to remember you. I love you, Patty
It probably didn’t seem so amazing to most folks, but to my
maternal grandparents it was most amazing.
Their first child was born. Dorothy
Olive Cary was born January 29, 1918 at 11:30 am. She was born at 47 S. Webster
Street, Ottumwa, Wapello County Iowa.
The doctor was Dr. H Vinson. He also delivered her two siblings, as well
as, me and my brother, David Vinson Craig.
It was the day of a family doctor becoming quite well acquainted with a
family. They were actually a revered member of the family.
Her father was Ralph O Cary age 24 and her mother was Hazel
Belle Cary age 21. They were a young couple that was just starting off on a
wonderful and long lived adventure. I can imagine the excitement they felt at
this birth. Probably Elizabeth Windle, her maternal grandmother, was in
attendance to assist her daughter. Olive
Sanford Cary, her paternal grandmother had died the year before. She had asked her son to include the name Olive
in his first child’s name. This was the
reason for mom’s middle name.
She was born during the war to end all wars – WWI. This was the hope of the day, but as we know
did not come to fulfillment. How many have we endured since then? Her Uncle Forrest Cary was in WWI and I have
a picture of him when he came home on leave and her mother is holding my mom in
Her parents were hard working and loving and caring. She had a normal childhood for a person born
at that time. She took piano lessons, learned to swim early and became
excellent in that sport. She had many
girlhood friends and scores of cousins, all living in Ottumwa and the
surrounding area. She was beautiful, and as usual, at about age 14 started
She noticed a particularly handsome one named Gerald Vuhr
Craig. I mean “drop dead” handsome. He
was the brother of her girlfriend and classmate, Gwen Craig. This was the start
of a young romance that ended up in marriage on November 24, 1934 in Kirksville,
Adair County, Missouri. No, they didn’t
travel a long distance when they married.
Kirksville, Missouri was just over the Iowa/Missouri border and was the
place young people went to get married. Missouri didn’t require parent’s
permission to marry, so it was very popular for a long time as the “run away
and get married” place in the area. In
1942, her sister, Ruth Marian, went there to get married to Del Howard.
She was to become, seventeen years later, my mother. And
that is why so many people are alive today, two children, four
grandchildren, three great grandchildren, five great great grandchildren.
Eighty five years later she died on March 14, 2003. So much happened
during those eighty five years, that you will have to read some of my other writings
to catch it all. I was always proud to be her daughter and I loved her very much.
Was life perfect? Of course it is not intended to be perfect, but she sure did
make it a lot nicer.
I miss her, and
will always remember our last visit in mortality. I went to Gering,
Nebraska to be with her on her 85th birthday. We didn’t do any dramatic things, we just enjoyed
being together. As I left to return home
a few days later, as I backed out of their driveway I looked in the rear view mirror
and as usual, she was standing at the corner of their garage. Watching until I
was out of sight. As if to say, “I am with you as you travel on.”
She is still watching me as I travel on. The mother child bond
is not easily broken, least of all by death.
Join me in celebrating a life that added life to so many people. Happy 99th Birthday Mom. Patj
I don't know why I have been thinking about Trixie lately. It has been forty five years since she died, but I have been thinking about her quite a bit. Maybe if I introduce you to her I can get over this feeling. Trixie came into our lives when Cindy was about age three. My stepdad, Laurel L Evelyn brought two puppies home to his house at 1815 P Street in Gering, Nebraska. We lived in the basement apartment and he had me bring Cindy upstairs for a surprise. The two puppies were in the big overstuffed chair, and he said to Cindy, "You pick what puppy you want."
One was Trixie, and the other one was her brother Skipper. Of course they didn't have names yet, but these were the names for them eventually. They were both cute as a button, as all puppies are. Skipper was a tan color and Trixie as you see her above.
It took quite a bit of evaluation for a three year old to make a big decision like that. She looked from one to the other several times. Finally, she petted Trixie, and said she wanted her. A very wise choice as Skipper turned out to be a scatter brained puppy that had no sense at all. He was lovable and cute but not too smart.
Trixie was the opposite -- very smart and became a permanent part of our family until after Cindy was grown and married. For fifteen years she went everywhere we went and was always part of the things we were going thru and moving from place to place with us. She was never any trouble at all. So gentle and loving to us.
I believe animals are a special gift Heavenly Father gives us to give us joy in life. Trixie was the best gift we could ever have had. She adapted to what was going on in our lives and each stage of Cindy growing up. Although she wasn't thrilled when a new baby came to us in 1962. Too much noise and disruption for her I guess. She was never a threat to Laurie, but she made it clear she liked things the way they used to be.
Our last move with Trixie was when we moved to Colorado in 1971. She adjusted just fine, but it wasn't long when she was starting to falter. She was getting old and sick. One day I had to make a hard decision. It was a Saturday morning, she was not able to walk anymore and I knew the time had come to say goodbye to my faithful friend. Longmont didn't have a Humane Society yet so I had to drive to Boulder to turn her over to be put to sleep. It was a sad drive to Boulder and even sadder drive home. I cried all the way there and all the way back home. Little did I know this was the first of these things I would have to do in my lifetime.
I will never forget that day and I will never forget my loyal and loving friend, Trixie. What a special spirit she was. Yes, I believe she had a spirit just like I do. I hope that in the hereafter I will see her again.
What a wonderful party we had on December 8, 2016. It was during our recent cold blast from who know where. Almost too cold to breath outside. Although it WAS a little warmer than the night before, when it was -0 by 6 pm. But all you need to do to get a feeling of warm is to fill the room with genealogists. Especially members of Larimer County Genealogical Society. Spouses were there as well, and surely were used to hearing genealogy spoken. The cold probably kept a few away, but it was hard to tell as our room was filled to the brim. The first topic of conversation was the many accidents folks witnessed as they drove to Mimi's Cafe east of Loveland, Colorado. Our President was half an hour late as she was stopped by two bad accidents as she traveled from north of Fort Collins. But that was all forgotten as folks started visiting and ordering and eating. We heard some "hate mail to our ancestors" like WHO WAS THE FATHER OF YOUR SON? and why did you even marry a Smith, and then to name your son JOHN? It was messages we have all thought of sending to them if it were possible. Then we all wrote four surnames on pieces of paper and as each table read them others in the room raised their hands if they had them as well. The one that the most had in common was BAKER. A couple of people actually connected with ancestors that were in common. It was a fun game. The evening was closed with the drawings for door prizes. All were good, with some comments on the ones from Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream. Those didn't sound so inviting on such a frigid night. But their time will come for sure. It was a nice evening and well worth the effort to get there. Hopefully everyone arrived home okay. Stay tuned for more reports of festivities.
December 3, 2016 was a wonderful afternoon spent at St Joseph's Catholic Church. It was the annual Senior Dinner that they graciously host each year. I have been attending it since 2009 when I lived at DMA Plaza and it was something several folks there attended. At that time it was at another Catholic Church in Fort Collins and it was in November as it was a Thanksgiving Dinner for the seniors in the community. I started going with neighbors Sharon C., and Bill Kim. We rode together to the dinner in those first days. Eventually, it changed to a dinner held between Thanksgiving and Christmas and it moved to Meredith Hall at St Joseph's Church. I usually call and make the reservations for the three of us and we meet there. I have moved from DMA Plaza and so has Bill Kim, but we still go to the dinner with Sharon C. This year we met a few other residents of DMA Plaza there and we all sat together at a large table. It was sort of a reunion and it was so good to see old neighbors.
The dinner was excellent and served in great style. No details were overlooked, and the room was beautifully decorated. There was Christmas music which was nice while we ate. I am guessing, but I would estimate there were 100-150 people there. All quite dressed up and feeling festive. It was a room filled with good old fashioned joy. No other word for it -- JOY. What a nice way to start the Christmas season. Thank you to the parishioners at St Joseph for a wonderful afternoon.
On Monday December 5, 2016 I presented the program at the Fort Collins Civil War Round Table at 1 pm. I like to prepare and present Power Point presentations and this group is always so gracious in letting me do that. I am not sure how many attended, maybe 50. It is hard to think about that when you are giving the program. My subject was Wives of Civil War Generals. I did four Union wives, four Confederate wives and one Private's wife. They were (from the Union) Mrs. General Benjamin Butler; Mrs General Joshua Chamberlain; Mrs. General Daniel Sickles; Mrs. General Philip Sheridan; (from the Confederacy) Mrs. General Nathan Bedford Forrest; Mrs. General Stonewall Jackson; Mrs. General James Longstreet; Mrs. General George Pickett; and the Private's wife Mrs. Peter Thorn better known as Elizabeth Thorn, a Civil War heroine in her own right. It was a nice afternoon, spent doing what I like to do. And being with the nicest folks around is an added bonus.
So 2016 is closing in fine fashion. It has been an eventful and fully loaded year and I am glad I was here to enjoy it. I am looking forward to a great 2017, especially with a new great grand baby on the way and due to arrive in March. Stay tuned for further reports from your humble correspondent, Patj
My grandson recently sent me an article about the values of genealogical research. It is not necessarily a new view, but a good reminder of why I believe it is vital. At least it is vital to me. It is the reason I write about my ancestors and publish those writings either here or at the Family History Library or the Allen County Library.
I also have shared on the feeble attempts I made years ago to create Genealogical Websites. The websites are still active, but I don't update the material anymore. However, my contact information is there for folks to contact me if they have questions. The websites are:
But, to get back to the subject of this article -- here is the most pertinent part of it.
"Forgetfulness is immoral.
How then do you avoid the immorality of forgetfulness? How do you acknowledge and thank someone for a gift when they’ve gone the way of all the earth?
You remember them. And in so doing, you prevent their second death. Preventing the Second Death, or How Memory Is Redemptive
Every person dies twice.
The first death comes when their body physically expires.
The second occurs when their name is spoken for the last time.
For most people, their second death arrives when the last person they knew during their lifetime also passes from the earth. No one remains who knew them in the flesh, and their memory is buried along with their bones.
For those people whose posterity does their genealogy, however, their memory never dies. Their name is read and known by he who first compiles a family tree, and by all the individuals who come after and keep sacred the record.
Viewed in this light, genealogy is an act of redemption. Through our family history research, we can save our ancestors — even the lowliest and most apt to be forgotten — from the second death.
Memory is moral."
I seem to have always known this and thus my own motto "Fall in love with your ancestors!" No matter how they behaved in life, without each and every one of them I would not be me! I owe them the effort to learn about them AND write about them.
And today, Thanksgiving 2016, I am thankful for every one of them. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your ancestors. Patj
This day was very historical. After 150 years, these forgotten soldiers are at last identified and remembered. They all were buried at Camp Collins between 1863-1866. After excellent research by Brian Carroll they have now been identified and are listed on this memorial that was unveiled in Grandview Cemetery on November 5, 2016.
The project was the culmination of eight years of hard work by Friday's Council Tree Chapter, NSDAR. This dedicated committee has photographed every headstone in Grandview Cemetery and in Roselawn Cemetery in Fort Collins, Colorado. I well remember the day we were asked to undertake this project,and the enthusiastic approval by the small, newly organized chapter of sixteen members. Now eight years later, and boasting sixty three members, the fruit of that commitment has been realized. Yes, it grew far beyond the original vision, but what an accomplishment it is.
One of the identified forgotten soldiers was represented by a great great granddaughter in attendance. She and her husband traveled from Wisconsin to be here today. A special spirit was in this cemetery today and I imagine these men cheering that they are finally remembered after so many years of being forgotten.
Adding to the excellent program was a high school group that does Civil War re-enactments. The "Lobo Mess" of Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins posted the colors and contributed greatly to the events of the day. A nice reminder of the good students in our world today. Two young ladies that are part of "Lobo Mess" were dressed in colorful Civil War dresses. Thanks to them for participating and joining today's festivities.
Brian Carroll read the names of the newly identified soldiers and gave a short bio of each one. At last the world knows who they are and what they were like. Brian is scheduled to give a presentation about this research at the February 16, 2017 meeting of the Larimer County Genealogical Society.
All in all, it was a beautiful day, accentuated by perfect Colorado weather. It was a gorgeous setting for showcasing a "job well done". It was a perfect day to recognize the many different people and organizations that helped accomplish a long and difficult project. It was a "feel good day" that shows the good in people everywhere, and we need a day like that once in awhile.
Thanks to all from me, for an inspiring and beautiful day. Patj
October 2016 was a delightful AND busy month. My youngest daughter, was with me for two week, on her way to a new home in far off Hawaii. It was a bittersweet visit as I loved having her here, but know I won't see her again for a long time. She is an incredible young lady for sure, and I love her and am so proud of her. It is a great skill to be able to land on your own two feet time after time.
The other blessing for me is that the reason she is moving to Hawaii is that I am about to be blessed with a 5th great grandchild in Hawaii. It is a boy and I am so excited to know when he arrives safe and sound and is strong. He certainly is endowed with strong genes from both sides of the family. He will be our "Wonder Boy".
But, back to the visit -- we sure did have a good time and did some neat things while she was here. The first Sunday was spent driving up Poudre Canyon. It was a beautiful and colorful Colorado day and the scenery was spectacular. We sat in on a couple of court hearings for a person/case of interest for me. We attended a political rally at Colorado State University where Bernie Sanders spoke. We visited Medical Center of the Rockies several times where my oldest daughter had hip surgery. We went to Chapunga Sculpture Park and Benson Sculpture Park, both in Loveland, Colorado. We went to a couple of movies and ate out everyday at various restaurants. In short, the visit was way too short!
Alas, the time came for me to take her to Longmont where she spent the last week of October with her stepmom. I went back to Longmont on the last day of October to spend time before she left there the next day.
This was the hardest parting. All of a sudden alone again, and having to face the adjustment of that once again in my life. I decided to look on the situation with rose tinted lenses rather than black tinted lenses. The joy I found in that short time was priceless and I don't want to cancel it out with negative thoughts or feeling sorry for myself.
I will always cherish the memories of October 2016. Nothing can take that away from me.
It was thirty three years ago I married John E Johnson in Loveland, Colorado. The picture shows how we felt that evening so long ago. It was the third marriage for each of us and we both carried a great deal of baggage as we undertook this new life together. It was a gamble for both of us.
But at this moment that was all set aside as we vowed our love for each other and determinedly ventured forth on a sometimes rocky path.
Twelve years later we were still best friends and still in love. This picture was taken the day before we began one of our genealogy trips in 1995. Cloverleaf Community, where we lived, had set up a photographer to come and take pictures of the residents and John had made arrangements for us to do that. Quite a handsome couple wouldn't you agree?
How I would love to take off on a trip again, like that one was. We had the best time investigating Kentucky and other places where our ancestors lived. We could ride for hours without talking much, just content to be together.
We were married 26 years in all. John died two days before our 26th anniversary on September 25, 2009. And as expected, as we grew older we depended on each other much more, and our love ripened into a wonderful relationship.
All I can say is that I wouldn't have missed this adventure for anything, all of it. I miss John and wish I could talk to him one more time. But of course, if that could happen I would ask for even more time and that can never be in this world.