Ilagrace Harms (1929 -- 2004)


Longtime Steamboat Springs resident Ilagrace Webber Harms died peacefully Oct. 23, 2004. She was 75.

Ilagrace was born Jan. 6, 1929, in Steamboat, the fourth child of Walter and Gertrude Webber. Her childhood was spent playing on the banks of Butcherknife Creek and exploring the nearby vacant hills.

A true native of Steamboat, Ilagrace lived as a child on Crawford Hill, Spruce Street and in a rear apartment of what is now known as the Cameo Building. Some of her fondest memories of Steamboat were of her mother and father preparing for Christmas Eve and the original Roaming Christmas Tree, for which her father played the role of town Santa Claus.

In November 1946, Ilagrace and her sister Helen attended the local Thanksgiving dance, where they both met their future husbands. Ilagrace married Leland Harms on Nov. 18, 1947, beginning a 57-year union of husband and wife and a true life partnership. As a wedding gift, Frank and Mae Harms gave their son and his new wife a house and acreage at the foot of Sleeping Giant. The couple ranched and farmed the land for several years.

On Jan. 1, 1959, the couple welcomed their first child, Linda, to the world. A blizzard made the trip from Steamboat to the Hayden hospital four hours long, and the young family had to wait four days before the roads were cleared and they could return home.

In 1957, Ilagrace and Leland purchased their home on Maple Street, where they eventually provided some of the first affordable housing in Steamboat, the Hilltop Trailer Court.

Ilagrace and her family followed the work career of her husband. They spent time in Kansas and Cheyenne, Wyo., before the family -- with three daughters and a son -- returned to Steamboat. Leland and Ilagrace purchased a home on Broad Street and the Westside Self Service, a gas station west of town that also sold and serviced snowmobiles and chainsaws. As part of the sales promotions for the snowmobile and chainsaw companies, Ilagrace and Leland won three vacations to Spain, Hawaii and Acapulco, Mexico.

For the next 27 years, the couple spent winters in Mexico and summers in Steamboat and traveling the country, Canada, Mexico and Alaska. Whenever they returned home, it was only a matter of weeks before Ilagrace repacked the motorhome and was ready to travel again. She loved to travel, whether by boat, plane or car.

In the spring of 1999, after Leland suffered a serious illness, Ilagrace purchased a new home in Grand Junction. She was proud of the beautiful home they had been able to purchase after many years of lean crops, gas shortages and raising four children.

Ilagrace's wish was to be home through her last days. With help from private care providers and Hospice Services, Leland was able to honor that wish.

Ilagrace slipped peacefully from her family on Oct. 23, 2004.

She is survived by her husband; four children, Linda Hibbert and her husband Elvin of Loveland, Aletha Dove and her husband Wayne of Craig, Cindy Wright and her husband Ernie of Hayden, and Ernie Harms and his wife Georgia of Steamboat; 10 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; three sisters, Helen Duncan of Craig, Eloise Brown of Monroeville, Ala., and Norieta Rule of Anchorage, Alaska; and a brother, Chuck Webber of Jackson, Ala.


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