Obituaries for Nov. 17, 2002


Ann Gooding Rich

The chair at her little kitchen table is empty, but it holds more than a half-century of memories. On one corner of the table is a book, open to Annie's favorite lines from Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." In 1968 she earned her master's degree as a Chaucer student at Colorado State University. Later, Annie shared her love and enthusiasm for this classic with students at Colorado Mountain College.

Spread on the table are papers and bills for West Slope FM, the organization that brings classical music to our valley and that she supported for years with her time and money.

A newspaper is open to the page on bridge tips. Annie started playing cards as a child and continued her love for this pastime until a few weeks before her death.

Several volumes of Annie's wildflower books are on the kitchen counter, ready for early summer hikes into the high country of Routt County with friends and students. Above all, Annie was a teacher. Her CMC wildflower classes were a favorite for locals and tourists alike. Friends who hiked with her always learned a little about flowers and geology along the way.

A daughter of Addison M. and Gertrude Gates Gooding, she was born in Longmont on July 28, 1919. She and her younger brother, Gates, grew up in the family home at 1006 Crawford Ave. in Steamboat Springs.

Annie graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 1937 and from the University of Colorado in 1941. That year, she married E. Dillon Rich of Oak Creek. Dillon was serving in the Army and was stationed in Summerville, N.J. Their daughter Lynn was born in 1942. When Dillon was sent to the Philippines, Annie returned to Steamboat Springs where, in 1945, their daughter Robin was born.

In the following year, with Dillon back home from military service, the Riches purchased the Yampa Valley Mill and Elevator Co. Besides helping Dillon with "the mill," Annie clerked for her father, the district judge. She involved herself in her community for years working on the Winter Sports Carnival Queen Ceremony, the Diamond Hitch Parade, Square Dance Festival, the annual Aspencade and later the Routt County Democratic Party, the Tread of Pioneers Museum and West Slope FM.

In the winter of 1958, the mill burned in a spectacular fire. Five years later, Dillon became Routt County treasurer, a position he held for many years. Annie supplemented the family income with several jobs, including secretary to a local dentist, secretary for the Chamber of Commerce and working in the ski area ticket office.

Throughout her life, Annie never lost her great love for the mountains. As a child, she spent weeks with her family on horseback pack trips into the Mount Zirkel area. As an adult, she and her friends enjoyed weekly hiking and skiing adventures into all of the mountains around Steamboat. Her zest for life and her exuberant love for the natural world were never more apparent than at the summit of a mountain peak after a tough and demanding ascent.

Last week, Annie passed away at the age of 83. She is survived by her husband, Dillon; her daughter and son-in-law, Lynn and Chuck Abbott; grandson Kevin Abbott; granddaughter and grandson-in-law Colleen and Russ Ortiz; and great-grandchildren Elena and Talon Ortiz and Matt and Lauren Ortiz.

Today, sunlight comes through the window above Annie's kitchen table. It warms the little room and all of the memories that crowd around the table. Annie is no longer here. Her chair is empty. But the room itself continues to be full of the love she gave so freely.

Arvel Lawrence Bratton Sr.

Arvel Lawrence Bratton Sr., 88, of Cassville, Miss., died Oct. 22, 2002, at his home in Cassville surrounded by his family.

He was born Feb. 15, 1914, in Cameo, the son of James Alexander and Margaret Elizabeth (Flannery) Bratton. On Nov. 29, 1939, in Rawlins, Wyo., he was united in marriage to Jewel Maxene Nafus.

He is survived by his loving wife of more than 62 years, Jewel of the home; a daughter, Judy Janeen (Bratton) Rowsell and her husband, Lynn, of Pocatello, Idaho; two grandchildren, Nicole Rowsell of Brattleboro, Vt., and Jackson Rowsell of Moran, Wyo.; several nieces and nephews; and a host of friends.

Arvel was preceded in death by a son, Arvel Lawrence "Larry" Bratton Jr., April 26, 1981; his parents; and nine brothers and three sisters.

He received his education and grew up in Yampa, where he graduated from high school. He was a salesman and distributor for medical and industry gases. He retired from Allegheny Ludlow in 1972, at which time he and Jewel retired to Barry County. They had a small ranch in Mineral Springs and raised cattle for several years before moving to Cassville in 1994. He was a member of the United Methodist Church of Cassville and very active in the Senior Citizens Center in Cassville. He was also on the Senior Bowling League. Before moving to Missouri, he was active in the Elks Club in Colorado.


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