David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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A Memorial Service


I went to a beautiful memorial service the other day in the woods on Big Owl Road. It was for Marie Armstrong, whom you probably didn't know, but she was a remarkable per¬son, and she loved the mountains the way most readers of this col¬umn do.

There was some very lovely flute music and Marie's sister recalled their life together one year when they were teenagers . Her son, Bob, talked about Marie's influence on his education; the many books in the house and Marie's insistence that if the children wanted an answer to a ques¬tion they had to look it up and report the answer to her.

Christopher, her infant grandson, sat beside me and made small noises during the service. It's too bad he'll have no memo¬ries of this gorgeous Colorado July Sunday morn¬ing or of his grandmother.

Cecil, her husband for more than 50 years, told the group of about 30 of the summers here with their children at the Big Owl Cabins in the 50s and 60s. In 1966 they had a picnic in back of the cabins, on a rock ledge a few feet from Roaring Fork, just after it crosses Highway 7, a few hun¬dred feet south of Eagle Plume's. Marie, as she had done before, said she thought this would be a nice place to build a house and in 1969 they did, and they spent nearly every summer afterward creating a very classy A-frame summer residence.

Marie suffered from arthritis, so Cecil built a full size swimming pool, using solar heat, and planted a beautiful garden filled with blue columbines around it. He thinned the forest and the rock ledge eventually became Marie's favorite place to read and to write letters. At the memorial service, Cecil dedicated a polished gray granite slab which commemorates her love for this little portion of our valley.

Marie's is one of the more ambitious such memo¬rials in our valley. Many people have had their ashes scattered in a favorite spot. Not far from Marie's marker, Emily Johnson's ashes lie under her favorite blue spruce, and though the spot is unmarked, hers is no less a reminder of the depth of feeling many of us have for this remarkable place. You may have thought there's some¬thing illegal about scattering ashes, but there's nothing in the state or county laws to prevent it.

Bob Broun was at the service. He told me he had just driven past a five acre parcel that had been for sale for some time, and had recently been sold. As he passed by, on the way to the service, he'd noticed the new buyers having a big party, apparently to celebrate their new home and the prospect of building their own cabin in the valley. It had given him a good feeling, he said, to know that people who love this place are an infinitely renewable resource. Marie and Emily and all the others would have agreed with him.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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