Obituary: Margaret Helen ‘Nellie’ Hauff, May 8, 1983, to Oct. 10, 2018
Margaret Helen Hauff, known to all of us as Nellie, was born at the Vail Valley Medical Center on Mother’s Day, May 8, 1983. For the next 35 years, her family basked in her beauty, her humor and her fierce loyalty.
Growing up, she and her sister, Martha, were best friends, tormenting and loving each other simultaneously, but always loving more. Nellie’s father, Brian, was undoubtedly her kindred spirit. She had an uncanny ability to exasperate him with her stubbornness during tennis practices, which constituted a substantial portion of her youth.
Nellie and her mom, Jeannie, were both scofflaws by nature. They were a dangerous pair, and throughout Nellie’s life, they laughed over and reveled in the mischief they made together. Nellie’s newest family member, her little 2-year-old nephew, Silas, loved her profoundly; they spent many hours playing and reading stories together, truly delighting in each other’s company.
Lover of dolphins, sea turtles, dogs and cats, Nellie found many ways (professional and personal) to advocate for animals. After graduating from Claremont McKenna College in California (where she was a leader of the tennis team), she sought adventure around the country, living in five states over 10 years. She returned to the Vail Valley in 2016, where her heart finally felt at home again.
Nellie never took the natural beauty of the mountains for granted. She was an avid amateur photographer, and her photographs of snowy peaks, sunsets, flowers, rivers and leaves reflected her appreciation for her glorious surroundings.
As she rebuilt her local network, Nellie found friendship and close companionship in her work community at Maya. Those closest to Nellie knew of her long and difficult struggle with mental illness. They were, and continue to be, amazed by her strength. She excelled professionally and conquered so many of life’s challenges, despite the internal pain she endured for years.
Nellie died on Wednesday, Oct. 10. A memorial will be held at Beaver Creek Chapel on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 3 p.m. The community is invited to join the family in remembering and honoring a dear daughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend.