Secelia Mayme McElhinney, a longtime resident of Fountain, passed away Sept. 16, 2011, surrounded by the love and laughter of her family. She was seven months shy of her 104th birthday.
Mayme, as everyone knew her, was the seventh of 12 children. She was born April 25, 1908, in Golden, to John Joseph and Sadie Eleanor (Ritzschke) Blandford. She was named after Saint Secelia of France.
Her mother ran a boarding house for the employees of Coors Brewing Co., and Mrs. Adolph Coors made her first doll from a man’s sock. The Coors family would bring presents on Christmas Eve and then come back on Christmas morning for breakfast.
In 1915, the family moved from Golden to Steamboat Springs, where her parents homesteaded on the Elk River. Her brother Joe ranched at the foot of Elk Mountain for many years.
She married Charles (Casey) Raymond McElhinney on March 5, 1928, in Steamboat Springs. They started their life in Mount Harris, where Casey worked in the coal mine.
She raised two stepsons, Jack Raymond and Billie Edward McElhinney, from the ages of 6 and 8. She had two daughters, Lucille Mae and Daisy Eleanor.
She is survived by her two daughters, Lucille Eckstine and husband Jim, of Cottage Grove, Ore., and Daisy Saylor and her husband, Les, of Fountain; 20 grandchildren; 44 great-grandchildren; and 52 great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Casey, in 1973; her seven brothers, Thomas, Joseph, John, Robert, Roland, George and Albert; her four sisters, Katie, Mildred (Babe), Charlotte and Ruth; her two stepsons, Bill and Jack; and a grandson, Mark Eckstine.
Mayme was an amazing woman. She was a waitress; farm wife; hunter; rock hound; janitor; jail matron at the Routt County Courthouse, where she and Casey were the custodians for many years; switchboard operator for Ma Bell; and self-taught quilter, crocheter and knitter. She kept everyone supplied with hand-knit slippers, Barbie doll clothes, quilts and afghans.
She was a wonderful mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother, and she was one mean cribbage player. She learned to bowl at age 74, and at age 94 she bowled two 200 games in one series. She learned to drive after age 50. She never let anything or anyone get in her way of accomplishing something she set her mind to. She was an encyclopedia of dates, times and events. She was an encouragement to all of her family to succeed.
She had lots of little sayings, and she lived by her mantra: “Can’t never did anything, try did it all.” She never said goodbye, it was always “So long” or “See ya later, it’s been good to know ya.”
A celebration of life was held Sept. 20, 2011, at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Security. The internment will be in Oak Creek.