Craig resident Gladys Kowach died Nov. 6, 2007, at The Memorial Hospital in Craig. She was 87 years old.
Gladys (Lee) Kowach was born in Claflin, Kan., on April 5, 1920, to Samuel and Bertha (Blecha) Lee. She was a twin to the only boy born in the Lee family, Glen. Glen passed away at the age of 3 months from a whooping cough. Gladys also had six sisters.
Many years of her youth were spent in Phippsburg and Kremmling. The family eventually moved to the Craig area and homesteaded near Great Divide in an area called Timberlake. She shared with the family that when her father, Samuel, first tried convincing her mother to move to Timberlake, she asked him if there were lots of trees, to which he replied, "Of course, Berthe, that's why it's called Timberlake." The family soon discovered that the trees were actually sagebrush. Many wonderful memories were made at the homestead, and yes, they did eventually have trees but only because Bertha made Gladys and all her sisters get out there and plant some. Gladys was so fond of the homestead and would gladly ride out there with anyone who wanted to see it. To this day, the trees are still there and just as big and beautiful as ever.
Gladys married the love of her life, Frank Kowach, on April 4, 1940, in Vernal, Utah. To this union, two children were born: Barbara Lee and Jimmy Frank Kowach. The family farmed in Breeze Basin.
Gladys attended school in Moffat County. In her younger years, she worked for the Visintainer family. She also worked in a creamery and as a housekeeper. Later on, she worked in Craig and at the Green Feather, waiting tables. Soon after that, she worked at the local laundry called City Laundry. After roughly six years at City Laundry, she then worked at Bill's Market, later called City Market, as a grocery checker.
At 46, Gladys was widowed as Frank passed away. She never remarried, but rather focused on her many family members. She later moved from her home in Breeze Basin to Craig and continued to work as a checker. After 20 years, she retired from City Market. In retirement she enjoyed, first and foremost, time spent with family.
She thoroughly loved camping and fishing in Brown's Park, where she had many happy memories with her husband, mother, sisters, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also loved playing the harmonica while camping. This was a delight for the family.
Another love was hiking in the hills. She was teased for being part Billy-goat as she could climb rocks and walk to the top of mountains with ease. With her straw hat, backpack and walking stick in hand, she could go all day and usually wore those out who were much younger than herself. Often her son and daughter would hear her say, "I wonder what's on the other side of that mountain? It looks so interesting." Gladys continued to walk in the hills even up to September of this year at an amazing age of 87 years old.
Gladys spent many, many hours in her yard, which included a beautiful flower garden. She took great pride in her yard. Not only did she and her family enjoy it, so did the deer in her neighborhood. She was always thinking of ways to keep those deer out.
She was quite the card player, namely, the game of Skip-Bo. She delighted in beating any opponent. At times, family members would form a team of three, and she would still beat them. You could say she was a merciless card player, ready to take on anyone at any time. Besides being an excellent card player, she was also a great cook. She made great meals for the holidays.
She dearly loved all her family members and would drop whatever she was doing to sit and chat. She also loved to eat out and had regular outings with several different family members on a weekly basis.
Gladys was preceded in death by her husband, Frank; parents, Samuel and Bertha; brother, Glen; sisters, Violet Hering, Mary Franks, Ella Short and Fay Counts, and a granddaughter, Mardell Kowach.
She is survived by her daughter, Barbara (Darrell) Wilaby; son Jim (Barbara) Kowach; granddaughters, Terri (Wayne) Estey, and Shyanne (Aaron) Peterson; grandsons Wayne (Janet) Wright; Jimmy (Lora) Kowach, Rodney (Karen) Kowach, and C.J. (Nicole) Kowach; great-grandchildren Brianne (Caleb) Smith, Jerod Estey, Amanda Wright, Curtis Wright, Ben Kowach, Mariah Kowach, Samuel Kowach and Kylee and Lucas Peterson.
She is also survived by step-grandchildren Rollin (Linda) Wilaby, Scott Sis, Matt (Stacey) Sis, and Danny (Heather) Reed; great-great-grandchildren Victoria, Cassandra and Alaina Smith. Also surviving her are two sisters, Minnie Babcock and Fern Reust, a sister-in-law, Helen Sloan, as well as many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews.
Gladys went home to be with the Lord on Nov. 6, 2007. She will be remembered as a deeply devoted, caring and loving wife, mother, grandmother and sister. She will be missed by her family.
Funeral services were Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007. Interment followed at the Craig Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to The Memorial Hospital in care of Grant Mortuary.