Kay Sandra Chambers passed away May 17, 2004, at St Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, surrounded by her family. She was 65. Kay, who had been diagnosed with cancer in 2001, had been in remission until recently.
Kay was born Aug. 23, 1938. She was a longtime resident of Meeker, where she relocated from Wisconsin with her family in 1971.
Kay was active in the family guide and outfitting business for more than three decades, and also worked full time as a registered nurse, her chosen profession. She received her associate's degree in nursing from Mesa State College in 1980, her bachelor's in nursing from Mesa State College in 1989 and her master's in nursing from the University of Colorado in 1996.
In December 1997, Kay was board certified as a gerontological nurse by the Gerontological Nursing Center. She was considered an expert in geriatric medicine. Being a nurse was a dream of Kay's that she had put on hold for more than 20 years while she raised her family and worked with her previous husband, Dean Chambers, to develop a successful business.
Through the years, Kay worked as a registered nurse at Pioneers Hospital in Meeker and Denver General Hospital in Denver. As a nurse practitioner she was employed at the Veterans Administration Nursing Home in Rifle, as well as working occasionally at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.
She spent her leisure time pursuing her interests in travel, fishing and golf, as well as enjoying time at her cabin. She enjoyed life to the fullest, particularly when she was spending time with her family and her many friends.
In 2000 Kay was nominated for the Nightingale Award bestowed by the Colorado Nurses Foundation. This prestigious award was founded in 1985 by the University of Colorado School of Nursing to honor Colorado's registered nurses for excellence in human care. She was recognized not only for the exemplary care she provided to patients but also for her service as a preceptor for nursing students and dedicating great effort to promote long-term care as a career.
On March 4, 2000, at the time of the presentation of the Nightingale Award, it was noted that Kay's basic philosophy toward medical care was, "You can't always cure, but you can always care." In passing, medical science was not able to find a cure for Kay, but those who knew and loved her always will care.
Kay was a courageous woman who lived by her own terms and died by her own terms. She will be forever missed by many.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Jessie and Winifred Gilberts; her sister, Norma Ilene Gilberts; and her son, Michael Leonard Chambers.
Kay is survived by her brother, Royce Gilberts of Hollendale, Wisc.; four daughters, Denise Cantafio of Steamboat Springs, Amy Michels, step-daughter, of Dane, Wisc., Annette Hall of Hayden and Lori Quinn of Meeker; five grandchildren, Monica Lee of Denver, Jessica Quinn of Meeker, Rosanna Slingerland of Loveland, Allison Hall of Boulder and Alicia Hall of Hayden; one great-granddaughter, Madison Mickey of Meeker; and Kay's longtime companion and best friend, Celistino Martinez of Meeker.
A memorial service will be at 5 p.m. June 12, 2004, at Sleepy Cat Resort in Meeker.
Memorial donations may be sent in Kay's name to the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home, P.O. Box 1420, Rifle, CO 81650.