“Delfie” was born on Sept. 3, 1934, to Miguel and Lucia Rodriguez Manzanares in Redwing (also known as Los Crestones), in the upper Huerfano River Valley, west of Walsenburg. Colo. She was one of seven children and the youngest daughter born on the family farm.
After leaving the homestead, the family moved to various locations in Colorado and Utah as job opportunities in mining or farm work became available. Her mother died in Montrose, Colo., leaving her father to raise the children. When she was very young, Delfie remembered accompanying him to work on the farms in the San Luis Valley. One of her earliest special memories was buying her first winter coat, complete with hat and mittens at a department store in Monte Vista.
“Grampo Mike” later found work in Utah and his family settled in Salt Lake City in the early 1950s. It was in Salt Lake City that Delfie met her future husband, Joe U. Lister. They were united in marriage on March 20, 1950, and made their home in Pagosa Springs. Seven children were born to this union — four sons and three daughters.
Their first home was a small, one-room home on the corner of South 9th and Navajo streets. As the family grew, they moved to a larger home in town. Delfie worked waiting tables at the Rainbow Cafe at the east end of town, for “Fussy Gussy” Apostle, and Joe worked as an insurance and car salesman. In 1957, Joe opened a furniture store and Delfie remained at home to raise their family.
In time, she would “watch the store” during Joe’s absence and the children became more involved in the expanding family business which included the furniture store, the Liberty theater, the Pagosa Hotel, the gas station and the Continental Trailways bus depot. In the 1980s, she felt compelled to move to Salt Lake City to help the family care for her elderly father. While there, she bought a home and worked in the food service industry for several years before returning to Pagosa.
Truly the matriarch of the family, Delfie was highly respected by all. She expected her children to respect all people, especially the elders. She guided them through tough times and would firmly discipline them as needed and when she said “No,” she meant no. She supported her children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren in all their activities. Every family member, from youngest to oldest, can remember her being in attendance at their particular event and she proudly displayed schoolwork, photos, drawings or awards throughout her home.
Delfie enjoyed cooking and, as every relative and numerous friends can attest, her home was the place to be for a hot meal, regardless of the time of day or night. She used no recipes, but everything she prepared was delicious, especially the homemade chili, beans and fresh tortillas.
A true sports fanatic, Delfie attended countless games in which her family participated. She travelled far and wide to watch everything from youth league games to high school level competition. You could always count on Delfie sitting in her very own “special corner” of the high school gym. She attended many state basketball tournament games over the years and witnessed the Pirates capture the title. As a tribute, she was presented with an autographed picture of the championship team, which she proudly displayed. She closely followed many professional teams, including the Boston Celtics, the Utah Jazz and her favorite team, the Denver Broncos. She and her sister, Florence, attended Bronco games in person and would have a terrific time. Oftentimes, she would fall asleep watching some kind of a game on TV.
Delfie loved to travel to family gatherings and could be ready at a moment’s notice. She was very independent and would pack up the entire family in the old station wagon and head to Salt Lake City. These were very special times and the family wouldn’t trade them for anything. She was a careful driver with a knack for taking her own special “detours,” but she always arrived at her destination or fairly close to it with an interesting and sometimes fantastic story to tell. She knew when the phone rang it might be a friend or a family member inviting her to a celebration or to the casino in Ignacio. She would fire up the “old gold” Cadillac nicknamed “Columbus” and the fun would begin. She enjoyed clothes shopping, getting her hair done in preparation for her adventures and was in style wherever she went. She was very much at ease in crowds, made friends fast, and could keep up with anyone on the dance floor. Her quick wit and keen sense of humor kept everyone on their toes.
Preceding Delfie in death were her parents, sisters Eloisa Manzanares and Sarah Martinez, brother John A. Manzanares, husband Joe, daughter Donna, grandson Ryan Lister and his son, Hunter Brule.
She is survived by her children, Larry (Cindy) Lister of Pagosa Springs, Peggy (Louis) Pisano of Yuma, Ariz., Joe (Kate) Lister Jr. of Pagosa Springs, Michael Lister of Bayfield, Les Lister (Michelle) of Pagosa Springs, and Pam Lister of Pagosa Springs, 21 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sisters, Mary Marquez of Pueblo, Colo., Grace Brimhall of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Florence Martinez of Magna, Utah. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews throughout the region which she knew by name and established close relationships with many of them. She is also survived by two sisters-in-law, Linda Buldoc, of Phoenix, and Ruby Jones, of Prescott, Ariz.
Delfie was an optimistic person who relied on her faith for strength. She would always give thanks and praise to the Lord for her life and for her family. When asked how her trips to Salt Lake City, to Arizona, or to Pueblo she would say that she made trip safely, “Gracias a Dios.” She believed that through God all things were possible and her faith in the good Lord trumped all logic. She relied on intuition and was right about things much of the time. She was a remarkably resilient human being who overcame adversity many times in her life. She was a tremendous person who touched many lives and will be greatly missed but more importantly remembered dearly by all who knew her. Time and illness may have taken her, but her spirit lives in all of us forever. Mom, sister, grandma, great-grandma, aunt, relative and friend, we will always love you. Vaya Con Dios.
A rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 14, 2013, at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church at 451 Lewis St. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 15, 2013, at Pope John Paul II Catholic Church at 353 South Pagosa Blvd. The family invites friends to share a meal following the mass at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street next to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.