Obituary: Helen Marion Browning
Oct, 26, 1925 — Dec. 25, 2018
Helen Marion Shy Holcomb Browning was born Oct. 26, 1925, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Christopher Leonard Shy and Alice Marion Gunning Shy. Helen attended schools in Colorado Springs and graduated from Palmer High School in 1944.
About 1935, Helen was adopted by her loving Aunt Mattie and husband, Trafford Holcomb. She lived with the Holcombs and her grandmother, Laura Shy, who she would later care for until Laura’s death in 1952. Helen worked for Mountain Bell as a telephone operator during her high school years and throughout most of her adult life. She worked for 15 years in Colorado Springs, two years in Greeley, and another 13 years in Craig, retiring when the Craig office was closed in 1978, after 30 years of faithful service.
Helen met the love of her life, Craig Browning, at a “Cootie” dance, and they were married in 1955. They made their home in Kremmling for a few years. While in Kremmling, Helen worked for the local drug store (there was no telephone office) and Craig worked several jobs, including at the ice plant on the Colorado River. Their son, David Craig Browning, was born in Kremmling in 1956.
In 1957, Craig and Helen moved to Colorado Springs, where Helen still owned a home and Craig worked as a civil servant at the Air Force Academy during its construction. While in Colorado Springs, two sons were born: William Leonard Browning, in 1959, and Patrick Henry Browning, in 1961. Craig and Helen moved to Greeley in 1962 so Craig could return to college and receive an undergraduate degree and teaching credentials. They moved to Craig in 1965, where Craig taught fifth grade and Helen worked for Ma Bell, as well as making their home until Craig’s passing in 2013, and Helen’s on Christmas Day 2018.
Helen was an avid reader, never more than arm’s length from a book, a newspaper or her Kindle. She loved to draw and paint, completing new works and attending local classes into her 90s. She enjoyed spending time with her large family of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and knowing more questions to the answers on Jeopardy than everyone else — even in her last few days. Helen was a doting and patient caretaker and spent much of her life looking after several aging family members, including her grandmother, Laura Shy, her mother-in-law, Gertrude Browning, and her husband, Craig.
Helen loved Jesus and was a 50-year member of the First Baptist Church of Craig and its oldest member until her passing. She is a life member of the Telephone Pioneers of America, a nonprofit philanthropic service organization.
Helen was preceded in death by her beloved family, Aunt Mattie and Uncle Trafford Holcomb; cousins Bill and Chuck Holcomb; grandmother Laura Shy; and brother, Jack Shy.
She is survived by her sons, who live in Craig — David, his wife Christina, and their children Amanda, Andy, Jessie Gourley, and her children, Tristen and Riley; Leonard, his wife Cheryle, and their children Jeremy, his wife Cyme, and their children Wyeth Krumrey, Oliver and Roark Browning; Courtney Jenison, her husband Justin, and their children Jonah, Jae Paisley, and Judah; Nathan, his wife Karina, and their children Elias, Elim, Esiah, and Sam Secord; Joel, his wife Cori, and their children Lucas and Charlotte; Lindsey Billig, her husband Sam, and their children Hazel, Orlin and Ariah; and Helen’s Denver area clan; son Patrick and his wife Julie, and their daughters Brandi Flannigan, her husband Cory, and their children Henry and Eamon; Rachel and her fiancé, Blake’ and Jaime Browning, their sons Justin and Austin Kuehn.
She is also survived by her loving niece Amy Shy Icabone of La Veta, Colorado and Christopher “Kit” Shy of Westcliffe, Colorado.
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 at the Journey at First Baptist.
Donations can be made to The Journey at First Baptist to support the many ministries and missionaries Helen loved, directly, or through Grant Mortuary.