Zephia Hollowell

Obituary of Zephia Hollowell

Zephia Katherine Hollowell, 108, entered into eternal rest on April 28, 2006 at Lincoln Community Nursing Home. She was a devoted wife, mother of seven, a loving grandparent to 21 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, and a loyal friend to all. Her long life on the plains says much about the pioneer spirit, the hard work and determination of the settlers of eastern Colorado. Zephia was born November 12, 1897, one of ten children to Barbara and Mett Gordon, immigrants from Austria and pioneers of Elbert County. They settled on the open prairie 28 miles SW of Limon in the mid 1890’s where they established a ranch among green valleys, rolling hills, cottonwoods, willows and natural springs. They raised cattle and sheep. The family experienced hardship and bad luck, but always managed to find humor even in adversity. Zephia and her siblings were raised in an atmosphere of honesty, hard work, strong faith, and led by the father daily gave grateful thanks for all that was good. Zephia remained steadfast in her faith, kneeling bedside for evening prayers well beyond her hundredth year. Zephia’s children and grandchildren were captivated by the many stories of her youth. As the oldest daughter, Zephia was given tremendous responsibilities at an early age. While her parents and two older brothers tended the animals and fields, at the age of six she was the baby sitter to her younger siblings and became part-time cook at the age of ten, full-time at 14. The family had ranch hands who stayed year-around and the dining table was usually fully seated. Until her marriage she remained chief cook for the large household, also assisting with house and ranch work, and with the many milk cows each morning and evening. Some of the family fun times were dances held in the parental home. Word of the coming event circulated among the neighbors. Furniture was moved into one room and music was provided by a well known musician and family friend, Matt Jerman, from Pueblo. They danced the night away and such food as oyster stew was served in the early morning hours. Zephia’s eyes always sparkled in remembrance. “The yard would be filled with horses and buggies and the music rang in our ears for days.â€? It was at one of these dances that Zephia met John Hollowell, a tall, handsome gentleman, who traveled over ten miles by horse and wagon to attend. John had come to Colorado from Newkirk, Oklahoma, in 1906 to homestead in Elbert County. After a proper three year courtship they were married on April 7, 1923. Zephia went from a home, which at that time was a showplace ranch, with lighted corrals and outbuildings, a two-story house with electricity and plumbing, to a sod house with a kerosene lamp, outdoor facilities and flat, treeless land. This home was located about ten miles east of Matheson in a community known as Keysor. Five of their children were born in the “soddyâ€? with the help of mid-wife and faithful friend, Sadie Ashcraft. In 1935, as a result of the drought, dust storms, lack of crops, and general depression conditions, the farm was lost, one among many. Zephia and John then relocated to a farm 15 miles SW of Hugo where they raised cattle, sheep, chickens, hogs and later grew wheat instead of corn and beans, and kept cattle only. Two more children arrived. Here they raised their family and remained for the rest of their lives. The home was always a center of activity, a haven to the children and grandchildren, and today all of the children still live in Colorado. They believe that, when together, no one has more good times and laughter than the Hollowells. In October, 1979, John passed away at the age of 94 ½ . Zephia was then 82 and had cared for him for eight years. In addition to her parents and husband, Zephia suffered the loss of all her siblings; six brothers : Matt, twins Pete and John, Frank, Louie, and Bernard Gordon, and three sisters; Barbara Gordon of Limon, Josephine Shive and Mary Starsmore of Colorado Springs. In addition she has lost cousin Anna Arthurs of Pueblo who was raised with the Gordon family, daughter-in-law Patsy Hollowell, and sons-in-law; Pat Jolly and John Bennett. She is survived by her seven children: Josephine Bennett, Evelyn Hollowell, Barbara Jolly, Bernard, Richard (Pat), Johnnie (Kay), Gorden (Nancy); Anna’s children Erma Jane Dent, Frances Vaughn, and Father Gene Arthurs; and her many grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Zephia was a member of the Busy Farm Women’s Club, the Cowbelles, and the Altar Rosary Society of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Hugo. A beloved center of her family, she had much wisdom and sound judgment. Her sense of humor, vibrant spirit, ready smile and strong faith will be warmly remembered by those who knew her. Mass of Christian burial will be held Tuesday, May 2, 2006 at 10:30 A.M. at the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Hugo, CO with Rosary to be held Monday, May 1, 2006 at 7:30 P.M. also at the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church with Father George Fagen officiating. Memorial contribution in lieu of flowers may be made to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church 131 5th Street Hugo, Colorado 80821 or the Lincoln Community Nursing Home 111 6th street Hugo, Colorado 80821.
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