Reina Salky, 14, right, and Michaela Graham place a flag in front of the grave of World War II veteran Sylvia Boggs.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Reina Salky, 14, right, and Michaela Graham place a flag in front of the grave of World War II veteran Sylvia Boggs.

Women veterans in spotlight for Steamboat Memorial Day

Memorial Day ceremony to focus on local females who served

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Memorial Day events

Steamboat Springs

■ Coffee and doughnuts at 8 a.m. at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4264, 924 Lincoln Ave.

■ Ceremony practice at 9 a.m. at Steamboat Springs Cemetery

■ Shuttle service to cemetery begins at 9:45 a.m. at Stock Bridge Transit Center

■ Memorial Day ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at cemetery

Yampa

■ Memorial Day ceremony, 11 a.m. at the Yampa Cemetery, with traditional bugling and reading of names of veterans buried at the cemetery

Hayden

■ Memorial Day ceremony, 6 p.m. at Hayden Cemetery, with 21-gun salute, flag lowering and presentation for citizens

■ Public reception and meal at the Benjamin J. Hofstetter American Legion Post 89, on Third Street in Hayden, after the ceremony

— Sylvia Lamprecht met Harold Boggs in a Glenwood Springs hospital, where he was recovering from rheumatic fever after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Sylvia, who was a first lieutenant registered nurse in the Army during that war, was Harold’s nurse in Glenwood Springs. It was a romance reminiscent of scenes from Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms.”

But while that novel ends in tragedy, Sylvia and Harold Boggs found happiness, seemingly from the start.

According to Harold’s obituary in a November 2003 edition of the Steamboat Pilot & Today, when he arrived at the Glenwood Springs hospital, Harold asked Sylvia, “Am I at the right hospital?”

“You sure are,” she replied.

Harold recovered. He and Sylvia married in August 1948 in Los Angeles. They returned to Harold’s home of Steamboat Springs, where they owned Boggs Hardware and raised two children.

Harold’s obituary states that when Sylvia was asked how she liked Steamboat, she said: “I didn’t pay too much attention to Steamboat because I was too busy being interested in Harold.”

They were married for 54 years. Harold helped establish the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4264 on Lincoln Avenue. Sylvia continued her nursing career in Steamboat, working with doctors including Frederick Ewing “Doc” Willett, a founding bedrock of local health care. She passed away two years before her husband, on Nov. 3, 2001, at the Doak Walker Care Center.

Sylvia Boggs is one of many female military veterans with local ties who will be remembered and honored Monday.

Steamboat’s annual Memorial Day ceremony, which starts at 11 a.m. at Steamboat Springs Cemetery, will highlight local women veterans this year.

“This year, we’re going to do something that’s long overdue. We’re going to honor the women from the Steamboat Springs area who have served,” local veteran and ceremony organizer Jim Stanko told the Steamboat Springs City Council earlier this month.

Stanko said he found records of at least 24 women with regional ties who enlisted and served in either WWII or the Korean War. Several of those women are buried in the Steamboat Springs Cemetery, he said.

Lives of service

Monday’s ceremony will focus on nine women in particular. One is Sylvia Boggs. The others also have compelling stories, according to their newspaper obituaries, records and oral histories compiled by Stanko and other local veterans.

Gwendolyn Marie Cary was born in Steamboat in 1920 to Inez and James Arthur Turner. As a child, she often traveled to Routt County schools on horseback — sharing one horse with siblings Charles and Lenore. Gwendolyn enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps in 1943 and was secretary to an Army Corps general in Belgium from 1944 to 1946. She was a lifelong member of the American Legion, VFW and Episcopal Church.

Wilma “Willie” Daniels, a longtime Steamboat resident, served in the U.S. Coast Guard at the beginning of World War II, as a seaman second class in ship armaments. Daniels was honorably discharged in 1944.

Marie C. Fitzgerald was a flight nurse in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Originally Marie Clary, she met her future husband, Jim Fitzgerald, while in the service. They married in 1946 in California and lived in Steamboat from 1993 until 2001, the year they both died.

Adele Munson Hain joined the Navy in 1947 and was a flight nurse on air evacuation missions in the Korean War. After the war, she married Russel Hain in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was a mother of four daughters and, reads her obituary in 2003, “loved her military service to her country.”

Dorothy (May) Jarvis was born and raised on the former May Ranch along the Elk River. One of five children born to Fred and Anna May, Dorothy graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 1939 and joined the Women’s Army Corps in 1943. She served as an officer’s chauffeur and worked in a convalescent program in Greensboro, N.C. She was honorably discharged in 1945.

Lois Robinson served as a Navy officer at the beginning of World War II and became a reserve officer in 1944, when she began a teaching career. Starting in 1956, she taught in the Steamboat Springs School District for more than 30 years.

Monday’s ceremony also will honor three Gold Star Mothers, Stanko said, referring to women who lost a son or daughter in a war. Three Gold Star Mothers buried at Steamboat Springs Cemetery — where their sons also rest — are Mary Cary, whose son, Leonard, died in Korea in October 1951; Blanche Ehle, whose son, Ben, died in Korea in September 1950; and Mary Vialponda, whose son, John, died in Vietnam in December 1968.

Stanko indicated some military precision when talking about the start of Monday’s annual remembrance.

“We don’t use Steamboat time,” he said. “We use my watch, and when it says 11 o’clock, we start the ceremony.”

To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or email mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com

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