Henrietta (Ayer) Keenan passed away peacefully on March 31, 2018, at the Colorow Care Center in Olathe, Colo. She was 86.
Henrietta was the second of five children born to Burtis (Bill) and Mary (Stewart) Ayer. The family lived near the Gould Reservoir for several years, eventually relocating to a small ranch outside of Crawford on Clear Fork Road.
Growing up on a ranch and being the second oldest, Henrietta was regularly called upon to help with the cattle, the horses and of course the "haying." She learned how to ride horses and to drive a team. She loved the ranch life and anything involving the outdoors.
Henrietta graduated from Crawford High School and went on to Western State College in Gunnison where she earned a degree in teaching. After graduation, she taught for one year in Gunnison then joined the United States Naval Reserves in 1955. The women's branch of the Reserves was known by the acronym "WAVES" (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service). She served in the Reserves for two years, stationed in Washington, DC.
In 1957 she married Daniel E. Keenan of Crawford and they settled on a small ranch outside of town. A year later they moved to Grand Junction where two children were born: Margaret (Margie) and Daniel (Rusty). When the children reached school age, Henrietta returned to teaching, spending many years at East Junior High School in Grand Junction teaching physical education. The family operated a feedlot five miles west of Grand Junction until 1974 at which time the property was sold and the family moved to Fruita.
For several years, Henrietta rode with the "Frontier Belles Sidesaddle Club," a riding club for women who kept the spirit of the old west alive by performing at various events around the Western Slope. In 1990, she and Danny moved back to Crawford where they spent time fishing and camping in the summer, snowmobiling in the winter. They had been married for 52 years when Danny passed away in 2009. Henrietta lived in Crawford for the next five years eventually moving to Montrose and then Olathe for health reasons.
She is survived by a daughter Margie (Denver) and a son Rusty (Fort Worth), their respective spouses Mary and Maritza; four grandchildren (Yilver, Jackie, Stephanie and Brian); a great-grandson (Hunter); her sister: Mary Helen deKovend (Grand Junction); and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Bill and Mary Ayer, a daughter Mary Catherine, her husband Danny, sisters Margaret Deutsch and Audrey June Collins, and brother James (Jim) Ayer.
A celebration of her life will be held in Crawford, Colo.; the date is pending. The family wishes to express their gratitude to the aides and nurses at Colorow Care Center, to Henrietta's doctors and nurses at the VA Hospital in Grand Junction and at the Montrose Hospital, and to the caregivers of HopeWest. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to:
• HopeWest, PO Box 24, Delta, CO 81416
• Hotchkiss Senior Center
Arrangements are being handled by Taylor Funeral Service and Crematory.