Routt County remembers Rosa DeVault, the ultimate Broncos fan
February 4, 2011
A memorial service for lifelong Routt County resident Rosa DeVault is at noon Saturday at Holy Name Catholic Church, 524 Oak St., with interment to follow at Steamboat Springs Cemetery. DeVault asked that those who attend her memorial service wear attire celebrating their favorite sports teams. A celebration of her life will take place at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4264, 924 Lincoln Ave., after the burial.
A rosary is at 6 p.m. today at Yampa Valley Funeral Home, 2095 Curve Plaza.
Steamboat Springs — On Jan. 2, the Denver Broncos lost to the San Diego Chargers in the chill of Invesco Field. Undeterred by the heart-wrenching loss, the day's true victor was sitting in the stands.
She was an elderly Routt County-born woman, never once complaining about the cold and cheering on her favorite sports team one last time.
Longtime Routt County resident Rosa DeVault was 78 when she passed away at the Doak Walker Care Center on Saturday, but with the help of her niece, Kelly Kaminski, she realized one of her final wishes to attend a final Broncos game just weeks before.
"She was determined that no matter how she felt she was going to make it to the game," Kaminski said. "She was on the downhill side of her life, and I think she was the happiest person in that stadium."
A memorial service for DeVault, who worked 25 years at the Routt Memorial hospital and started a woman's softball league in town, is at noon Saturday at Holy Name Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Steamboat Springs Cemetery.
DeVault also had another final wish, one that she hoped would spread camaraderie and cheer at her service. Kaminski and her brother, Ray Spencer, said DeVault requested that everyone attend her memorial service wearing clothes representing their favorite sports teams. Her casket will be painted in the blue and orange of the Broncos.
After the burial, a celebration of her life will take place at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4264, 924 Lincoln Ave., where DeVault was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary.
Routt County beginnings
DeVault was born Rosa Sena, one of 12 children, to a mining family in Mount Harris. She grew up in the great outdoors where she fished, hunted and cut her teeth as an independent woman.
She eventually passed on her passion for the Routt County wilderness to her extended family.
"The stories I could tell you about fishing and hunting could go on for days," Spencer said about growing up with DeVault. "It was always an adventure when you went out with Aunt Rosa."
Spencer said his pursuit of a career with the U.S. Forest Service was mostly due to DeVault's influences.
"Hold your ground, don't ever put up with any gripe," he said about what he learned from his aunt. "She was a very strong-armed lady. Whatever she said was always right. There's no arguing with that."
Her former home on Third Street was known for its raucous Fourth of July parties, which acted as family reunions, block parties and community get-togethers.
She moved to the Doak Walker Care Center four years ago.
Holding her ground
DeVault will be remembered in Steamboat Springs for being more than a Broncos fan. As the founder of the women's softball league, Kaminski said her aunt coached countless girls and watched them flourish.
"She really liked the competitiveness of it," Kaminski said. "She loves coaching girls. I just think she really took a lot of pride in watching those girls go through their younger years playing softball."
In 2001, DeVault was chosen for the Senior Olympic Softball team, and traveled to St. George, Utah, for the games.
Ever the strong woman, DeVault was even playing a Nintendo Wii bowling game the night before she died.
As loyal as can be
Although she never had any children of her own, DeVault played mother to all of her nieces and nephews. They meant the world to her, Spencer and Kaminski said.
She also was one of the biggest Steamboat Sailors fans the town has ever seen, said Kaminski.
Former Steamboat Springs High School football coach Mark Drake said the Steamboat sports community will never have another fan like her.
"She always made herself present at all the gatmes," said Drake, who saw DeVault at nearly every game during his tenure from 1969 to 2004. "She'd ring this god-awful cowbell all the time — after the national anthem, after a good play or a bad play.
"She has the greatest spirit. There are all these pro sports teams with all these fans and they have nothing on her. She's the ultimate."
Drake said her love of football was unmatched. He doesn't like to imagine a game without her.
He doesn't know what will happen to DeVault's usual seat — the spot to the left of the announcer's booth that everyone knew was hers and hers alone — but he knows her spirit will live on in the local sports community.
"I know there is nobody like her in this community," he said. "They've lost the best supporter there is. You could not ask anyone to be as loyal as she was."