1923 - July 4, 2008
Billie Richardson died in her home on her ranch west of Maybell early on the Fourth of July. She had suffered from a bout with cancer for the past 2 months.
She was born Billie Louise Patterson on Feb. 17, 1923, in Caraizozo, N.M. Her grandfather had moved to New Mexico from Kentucky to ranch with his wife's family as one of the family members had tuberculosis. Billie's parents owned and operated a ranch near Vaughn and her dad later worked for the Santa Fe Railroad. She graduated from high school in Vaughn, N.M., and considered herself a lifelong resident of Vaughn, where she owned the family home until she died.
She married her high school friend, Charles Franklin Richardson, in Hot Springs, N.M., now Truth or Consequences, on Jan. 21, 1946. They had two children. Grant David was born Aug. 28, 1946, in Boulder and Lynna was born Jan. 4, 1951, in Vaughn.
She was a riveter for P-41s in Long Beach, Calif., during the early years of World War II while Charles served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and was part of the assault on Utah Beach in France on the third day of the D-Day Invasion. She returned to Vaughn, which was a major crossroads for the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroads and served as the station secretary for the Santa Fe for a few years.
After Charles returned from military service, she accompanied him to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where he enrolled to study political science. Later, Charles returned to the west and worked as a roughneck around Vernal, Utah, and later became a driller and then later a drilling consultant. During the course of 30 years, Charles worked for Loffland Brothers and consulted for several other drilling companies. Billie followed Charles and his work to Maricaibo, Venezuela; Cartagena, Colombia; Lima, Peru; Quito, Ecuador; London; Singapore; Malaysia; Jakarta, Indonesia; Benghazi, Libya; Dhaka, Bangladesh as well as numerous drilling locations throughout Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The decor of her home, her cooking and her perspective reflected her travels throughout the world.
They purchased the Buck Tisdel Ranch lying west of the Little Snake River and on the north side of Douglas Mountain in 1961. They ran Black Angus cattle and Charles chased wild horses on Douglas Mountain with his friends from Maybell including Dave Cattoor, Paul Hertzog, George Streeter and John Chivington. It is now co-owned and operated by long-time friend Monte Sheridan. In 1963, they sold the ranch and purchased the Wendy Tisdel Ranch located about three miles west of Sunbeam on the Yampa River. After Charles became ill in 1975, they sold the portion of the ranch north of the Yampa to Rex Walker and moved to Grand Junction. This ranch is now owned and operated by Hugh Turner Jr. They kept the portion of the ranch south of the Yampa which is where she and Lynna later established their home and where she lived until her death.
Charles died June 26, 1988. Billie then returned to Vaughn to take care of her mother until she died. Billie was active in the Vaughn community in caring for the cemetery and writing for the newspaper. She moved back to the ranch west of Maybell in 1998 to enjoy the ranch and the community with Lynna and her granddaughters, April and Anna Lou.
She is survived by a brother, Charles Patterson, and his daughter Shirley of Belen, N.M., her son Grant David and Ellen Richardson of Cottage Grove, Ore., Aaron and Barbara Richardson of El Paso, Texas, and Charlie and Cherry Richardson and their two children Billie and Oi also of Cottage Grove, their daughter Lynna Velasquez of Maybell, April Rae Velasquez and Howard Singer of Maybell, Thomas T. and Alena Velasquez and their daughter Abbey of Hayden, and Anna Lou and Dustin Ager and their son John of Maybell.
She loved her husband and her family and loved western history and culture and the wide open spaces and independent opinions of Northwest Colorado. She also very much enjoyed and appreciated the visits of her many family and friends in the last few days of her life.
Services were the First Christian Church on July 8 in Craig and internment was in the Veterans' Center in Orchard Mesa Cemetery in Grand Junction the following day next to Charles.
Thomas's wife, Alena, gave birth to her fifth grandchild, Grace Lily Lynn Velasquez, within 2 hours of her service Tuesday.