Richard and Lorraine Elliot |

Richard and Lorraine Elliot

Staff Reports

Richard Elliott, who was born and raised in a two-room family homestead cabin along the banks of Gore Creek in West Vail, was killed, along with his wife Lorraine, when the couple were hit in a head-on collision south of Billings, Mont. April 13. The driver of the other vehicle lost consciousness and veered into their lane, killing them both instantly. Richard Elliott was 76. Lorraine Elliot was 71.Their memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Friday, April 22 at the Donovan Pavilion in West Vail, with Chris Brook and Richard Mayne officiating.Richard grew up exploring the Gore Valley as his backyard, which instilled a love of nature and the outdoors. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and horseback riding. His daughters, Jessie and Judi, describe their father as a “Cowboy Gentleman,” because he didn’t cuss or drink. He lived his life with a wonderful, positive attitude and tremendous curiosity.”So much of who we are is because of our parents’ unconditional love” Jessie said. “Their family was their life. They expected us to be kind and work hard and we always knew we were well loved. We were dirt poor, but never knew it.”Lorraine is described by Jessie, as the most wonderful cook you’ve ever known. “An army would show up at the house and she could feed them easily.She also made all my Barbie doll clothes and sewed perfect matching Easter dresses for my sister and me each year.”Judi explained that her parents began with nothing and built it into a wonderful life together.”Everyone who knew them loved them as they were so alive and vital, Judi added. “Dad could take the gloomiest, most horrible situation and have you laughing yourself sick. You could write a book of wonderful memories of my parents. They were two of the most amazing people I’ve ever known.”Steve Jones first met Richard when he bought a saddle from him more than 30 years ago.”He was a huge part of my life and a good, good friend,” Jones said. He was warm, fun and honest. We leased ranches, bought cows, lost money and had more fun than any two people ought to have. He took me elk hunting and that was such a big deal because it was his tradition. He knew every nook and cranny in this valley. Richard was quite a guy, and Lorraine made the best damn elk liver gravy in the whole world.”Their grandchildren were the light of their life.”They spoiled all three of us more than we probably should have been,” said grandson Richie Edeen. “We spent time every summer hunting and fishing with them, and always felt very close to them.Richard Wayne Elliott was born Oct. 9, 1928 to Henry and Pauline Ruder Elliott. He was the third generation of the original homestead family and grew up in the little cabin where he was born. Richard was educated in the one-room schoolhouse that was built on land donated by his grandparents on the hill behind where Safeway is now located in West Vail. That schoolhouse was restored and relocated to Ford Park where it now houses the gift shop of the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.Lorraine Mae Elliott was born in Sterling, Colo. June 14, 1933 to Jacob and Margaret Sewald.The young couple met in Walden, Colo. and married Aug. 5, 1950 in Idaho Springs, Colo. Before settling back into the Vail Valley in 1959, the Elliotts lived in Leadville where Richard mined in Climax, drove trucks in Grand Junction and mined uranium in Moab.Richard logged and also worked at the Elliott Dairy that supplied 3,000 gallons of milk a day to the military at Camp Hale. He ran a coal business in Minturn and an excavation company that built the Vail Golf Course. The Elliotts built and rented apartments near their West Vail home. Twenty years later they left the Vail Valley and bought a ranch in Paonia.”My Dad decided ranching was way more work than retirement was supposed to be,” said Jessie.So they sold the property and moved to Grand Junction where they lived until their deaths.They are survived by two daughters Jessie Lee Elliott Edeen (predeceased by son-in-law David Earl Edeen) of Vail and Judi Ann Kirby (Phil) of Eagle; three grandsons William Elliott Edeen (Stephanie) of Los Angeles, Calif., Richard Earl Edeen of Austin, Texas and Luke Ross Gray of Eagle. Lorraine is survived by a sister Carol Woodmansey (John) of Billings.Richard is survived by a sister Maxine Bills of Grand Junction. He was preceded in death by two brothers and a sister. VT By Marka Moser

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