Thelma Alice Smith(Keifer) Thelma was born May 29, 1929, to Thomas Dewey Reagan and Hazel Alice Reagan of Lazear, Colorado. She entered Eternal Life April 22, 2020.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dorris B. Smith, known to most as D.B. Smith; her youngest child, Thomas James Smith, at the age of 18; two sisters, Leona Reagan of Lazear, Maxine Shaw of Grand Junction; and one brother, Robert Reagan of Denver.
She is survived by her daughter, Linda Burrows of Beulah, Colorado; two grandsons, Jared Gastineau of Delta, Jordan Gastineau of Eckert; and five great-grandchildren, Megan and Michelle Gastineau of Eckert, Luke Gastineau, Nicholas Gastineau, and Madison Gastineau of Delta.
She spent her childhood in Lazear, doing her chores, playing with her siblings as well as neighborhood children. Enjoying the root beer her Dad made in the cellar every summer was a special treat. Later he made it for his grandchildren as well. She was a fast runner, outrunning all the girls and boys at school. That talent served her well the day she had to outrun a bull to safety. When she was old enough, a short walk down the road took her to her first job at the packing shed in Lazear. There, she built wood boxes for packaging the fresh fruit from the area.
She attended local schools, graduating from Hotchkiss High School class of 1946. After graduation, she moved to Denver with her sisters, where they were telephone operators. The old switchboard style.
After receiving Leona’s diagnosis of M.S., the sisters returned home to Lazear. There was a fella by the name of D.B. Smith in Lazear, who owned a welding and automotive service. I've heard different stories, but the one I like best was his sisters played a part in their meeting. Well, it worked! Later it would be said by one of them that Dad worshipped her. As their daughter, I can say it was true. September 2, 1953, they exchanged vows. Vows they would always keep. The bell above the church rang for them, marking the start of their life together. After a few years they moved to Delta, where they owned and operated Speed Wash Laundry and Dry Cleaners (some may remember a blue delivery van that said, Here Comes Mr. Clean in your rear view mirror), as well as Delta's first car wash and self-storage units. When she was not helping with their businesses, she was keeping the family's large home immaculate and the yard, a showcase. She loved to garden and it was a good thing. She had a one-acre yard! Any plant she put into the soil flourished under her care. Dad kept her shovel sharp and with it, weeds didn't stand a chance against her. Many sleepovers and summertime naps happened under the long branches of the weeping willow she chose to be the anchor of her landscaping. In what she called her spare time, she crocheted up a storm! Doilies, table runners, table cloths, hostess aprons, baby clothes and more. Many she gave away, but two chests of her handiwork remain. Two crocheted outfits she made for her newborn grandsons earned her blue ribbons at the county fair. Oh, I can't forget her famous cherry pie. Yep, it won a blue ribbon too! Thelma had always made her own clothes and later, for her daughter as well. Shopping for patterns and fabric was always a great adventure. Easter meant matching mother-daughter dresses for church. A long-standing tradition. Some years we would hear her sewing machine still running into the early hours. No matter how long it took, two dresses were always ready Easter morning. For a Miss Delta, on her way to Denver to compete in the Miss Colorado Pageant, Thelma made her evening gown. Complete with hundreds of Swarovski crystals. The dress was a labor of love, the crystals however, pain to attach, but the ultimate creation was beautiful.
Thelma loved God and lived her entire life accordingly. Both she and D.B. were active members of The Cedaredge Assembly of God Church, under the ministry of Phil and Cheryl Neely. She read her Bible daily. Five chapters she always said. They traveled abroad, especially enjoying the trip they took to the Holy Land with Pastor Neely, Cheryl and several other friends from their church. She was grateful when her ride on a camel came to an end on that trip.
After the passing of her husband, she continued to run the storage business, selling them when she retired. Thelma was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her quick smile, arms open for a hug will be missed. She was an ordinary woman, who with a soft voice and kindness lived an extraordinary life. To me she will always be a rare Steel Magnolia.
A celebration of her life will be held June 6, 2020, 2 p.m. at Delta Cemetery. She will be laid to rest in Delta Cemetery between the Love of Her Life, D.B. Smith and Her Son, Thomas James Smith.