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Obituary - Ethel Irene Poma

Ethel Irene Poma, 92, passed away on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, at her home in Pagosa Springs.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held Tuesday, July 20, 2010, at 10 a.m. at Pope John Paul II Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs, with Father Carlos Alvarez, pastor, officiating. Burial occurred at Hilltop Cemetery in Pagosa Springs. Recitation of the Rosary was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic church on Monday, July 19, 2010.

Born Ethel Irene Campbell on March 17, 1918, she was one of five daughters and four sons to Louis Campbell and Irene Folck Campbell, at the family ranch on Spring Creek, east of Ignacio, Colo.

Her younger years were filled with ranch life which produced all the necessities for subsistence — chickens, milk cows, pigs, a big garden, canning, irrigation, haying and the grass roots cycles of calving, branding, driving the herd to the high summer range, and gathering and shipping calves to market on the train which ran through Oxford just south of the ranch. Hers was a healthy and self-reliant upbringing.

Following graduation from Ignacio High School, she attended Modern Beauty School in Colorado Springs, then worked in Durango and later in Cortez as a beautician. There, she met her husband to be — V.A. (Vic) Poma. They courted at such places as Trimble Springs and Molas Pass and were wed on Aug. 3, 1941, at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Aguilar, Colo.

Shortly thereafter, Vic was drafted into the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Littleton, Colo., when their older son Lou and daughter Karen were born. He was later transferred to White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, N.M..

After WW II, Ethel and Vic came to Pagosa Springs in 1946 and purchased a small Texaco gas station. Their younger son Anthony was born in Durango on Aug.11, 1950. They later established the Texaco bulk gas dealership in Pagosa and filling stations in Bayfield, Ignacio and Chama, N.M.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Ethel was a talented and studied artist, painting landscapes, still life and portraits. But her love was painting flowers — roses and pansies, which were her favorites. In later years, she discovered her true gift, that of china painting, which she excelled in.

In the early ’60s, Ethel and Vic bought the Charlie and Josephine Martin Ranch in the Weminuche Valley north of Pagosa Springs. Together, they added cabins, built fishing ponds and provided boats for the Martin Lake. Their purpose was to create a haven for families to unhook from the hectic pace of life, connect with the magnificence of nature and share the peace and beauty of the Weminuche Valley with anyone and everyone?— a tradition that is carried on to this day. True to her heritage, the Poma Ranch also was, and still is, a working cattle ranch.

Following Vic’s passing in 1986, Ethel continued to run the ranch with the help of family and friends. In latter years, when she was no longer up to being there full time, the operation continued through her nephew Matt and daughter Karen.

Both at the ranch and at home, Ethel’s table was always prepared for unexpected or unannounced guests. Vic would call to say he was bringing someone home or friends would drop in, invariably to find a meal and a welcoming chair at her table. Together, she and Vic also contributed to raising kids other than their own.

More than all that, Ethel was characterized by her warm, compassionate and generous heart. Few, if any, persons (or animals) came her way without going away with at least some of their needs met. No was a word she seldom used.

She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. Mrs. Poma was a gifted artist, homemaker, beautician and seamstress, and was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Guild, the altar society, Mountain View Homemaker’s Club, the American Legion Auxiliary, Women’s Civic Club, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, China Painters of America, Piedra and Spring Creek Grange, La Plata and Archuleta County Cowbelles and was also 4-H sewing leader.

Preceding Ethel in passing were her parents, her husband Vic (V.A.), her brothers David, Carl and Louis Campbell, and her sisters Cora Hiner and Alice Lechner. Still with us are her three children, Lou Poma, Karen Cox and Anthony Poma, all of Pagosa Springs; her youngest brother Kenneth Campbell of Pagosa; sisters Marie Floyd of Battlement Mesa, Colo., and Francis Patton McKinsey of Grand Junction, Colo.; her nine grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

The world would be a far better place if it had more Ethels in it. A woman of pioneer strength, creative artistry, deep warm compassion and a giving heart for all who crossed her path. She is deeply revered and will be missed.

Memorial contributions: Hospice of Mercy, 1 Mercado Street, Suite 270, Durango, CO 81301.