Mary Evelyn Durbin Kilgore Stewart Coutts: A life lived long, loved and loving.
Mary, to all who knew her, was born Mary Evelyn Durbin on March 14, 1921, in Joplin, Mo., and died at Horizons Care Center in Eckert, Colo., on April 5, 2012.
The childhood years
She was the first of three children born to Gabrial Marion and Effie Pearl Durbin. Effie Pearl died giving birth to Mary's brother Frank. The loss made Mary's depression-era childhood all the more difficult. She and her sister, Deana Davis (deceased, widower Errol of Albuquerque, N.M.) lived with various relatives in Missouri and eastern Kansas for most of her younger years. Both were separated from Frank (Jo) of Bentonville, Ark., for all of their childhoods.
Gabrial eventually remarried and relocated to Alamogordo, N.M., in 1937 for health reasons, bringing Mary and Deana with him and adding stepbrother Don Herbert (Lina) of Alamogordo to the family. Mary lived in and around Alamogordo for the next 25 years.
No stranger to work
Mary began working as a secretary in an Alamogordo doctor's office while still in high school, the first of many jobs she held in a working life that spanned more than 45 years. Among the many employers for whom she worked were the New Mexico Health Service, the National Park Service, several banks and the U.S. Civil Service. It was in one of the Civil Service positions that Mary, through on-the-job training, became a skilled technician helping operate one of the first digital computers, the IBM Univac, at Holloman AFB, N.M. She also founded, owned and operated her own business, The Emporium, also in Hotchkiss, for a number of years.
Mary met Robert Kilgore in Alamogordo. They were married in 1939 in Silver City, N.M. The union lasted until Robert died at 48 in Delta in 1966, by which time they had moved from Alamogordo to Fruitland Mesa where they raised cattle. Mary and Robert had two children: Roy Kilgore (Corina) of Kerrville, Texas, and Mary Ann Kilgore of Hotchkiss. Roy has two children, Wendy Kilgore (Ken Sharp) of Aurora, and Matthew Kilgore (Patrizia) of Kamuela, Hawaii. Mary Ann's daughter is E.J. Widner-Massey (Rob) of Parker.
Mary was working at First State Bank of Hotchkiss in 1969 when she met and married Hotchkiss bachelor Bob Stewart, who farmed on Barrow Mesa. Their marriage was tragically short as Bob also died young.
Mary was soon courted by Lazear widower Tom Coutts. They were married in 1974 and lived in Lazear and Mesa, Ariz., for 27 years, until Tom died in 2002. Tom's children and Mary "adopted" each other and she accordingly gained a large and loving second family. Tom's daughter Martha Todd (Dick) of Monrose brought four new grandchildren to the brood: Richard Todd (Joanie) of Centennial, Marcella D'Orazio (John) of Denver, Ronald Todd (Tara) of Larkspur, and Robert Todd (Robin) of Lee's Summit, Mo. Tom's first son, Robert Coutts (Denver) added two more: Dana Coutts (Ann Shimkus) of Denver, and Kristen Engelke (Robert) of Centennial. Tom's second son, Jim Coutts (deceased) added two more: Brett Coutts (Carolyn) of Grand Junction and Tamra Shiflet (Clint) of Fort Mill, S.C.
Mary's surviving family thus counts two brothers, four children, 11 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Mary was a past president of the Hotchkiss Emblem Club, a past matron of Order of Eastern Star and an active member of the Rogers Mesa Community Club and of the Barrow Mesa Club. She was a volunteer at Hotchkiss-Crawford Historical Society. She was a strong supporter of school activities for both Mary Ann and for Mary Ann's daughter, E.J.
She played pinochle with a group of North Fork women for decades. For a while she and Tom owned and traveled in a motor home. Their travels took them through Mesa, Ariz., where they eventually traded the motor home for a park model at the Valle Del Oro RV Resort. All told they spent 15 winters there. Mary particularly enjoyed her membership in the park's writing club.
Services will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, 2012, at the Hotchkiss Community United Methodist Church, 285 North 2nd Street, Hotchkiss, CO 81419, and interment will follow at the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Crawford.
Donations may be made to the Hotchkiss High School Music Department, 438 Bulldog Street, Hotchkiss, CO 81419, or to the American Cancer Society.