After battling an extended illness, longtime Steamboat Springs resident Mary Jill Vanderbloemen passed away Nov. 10, 2007, while visiting her family in Oregon.
Mary was born Aug. 31, 1951, in Bend, Ore., to Edward and Margaret Uffelman and was the youngest of seven children. She was a top-ranked junior Pacific Northwest Ski Association racer at Hoodoo Ski Bowl and Mt. Bachelor in Oregon, and she grew up with a love of horses and the outdoors. She graduated from Bend High School in 1969, prior to attending Loretto Heights College in Denver.
Mary met her husband, John Vanderbloemen, while traveling and working in the ski resort of Berchtesgaden, Germany, in 1975. After backpacking through Europe, they moved to Steamboat Springs for the winter of 1976-77. Mary then returned to Oregon, where she and John were married near the base of Mount Hood on Aug. 13, 1977. They have lived continuously in Steamboat Springs since 1980, where they raised their wonderful and beloved children, Eric and Lillian.
Anyone who ever skied with Mary knows she was a fabulous skier, who danced effortlessly down White Out and in and out of Shadows and Closets. She loved to travel with her family, especially to warm, sunny beaches and clear waters. Mary never met a stranger, whether in town or while traveling. She had a child-like quality and a special way with children and animals. Mary was a genuinely kind, sincere, fun-loving, athletic, spiritual, intelligent, good and beautiful person who, above all else, wanted the best for her children and her family. She will be missed by many.
Mary is survived by her husband, John, and their children, Eric and Lillian, as well as the large and extremely loving Uffelman family. Surviving Uffelman family members, all of whom live in Oregon, include her parents, Ned and Margaret Uffelman of Stayton; brothers and sisters James Uffelman of Seal Rock, Judy Lenchitsky of Boring, Johanne Samek of Sublimity, Margaret Jean Savage of Portland, John Uffelman of Portland, and Joseph Uffelman of Stayton; and 25 nieces and nephews and 30 grandnieces and grandnephews.
A funeral mass was held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in her family home of Stayon, Ore., on Nov. 16, followed by her burial in St. Mary's Cemetery.
John, Eric and Lillian sincerely appreciate all of the love, prayers and support that they have received from their friends in Steamboat.