Profile: Janet Eberle was born same year county was formed
When Moffat County celebrates its 95th birthday in February, so will Janet Eberle.
Eberle was born in 1911–the same year Moffat County formed. Eberle is also the last living Moffat County Rural superintendent and has lived in or around Craig for more than 85 years.
“The county superintendent was a state mandatory position,” she said. “The purpose of it was to have the schools the same throughout the county.”
Eberle served as the county superintendent of schools from 1963 to 1970. She was elected to serve two four-year terms, but her second term was cut short because the position was abolished.
As superintendent Eberle was responsible for curriculum, filling teacher needs and making sure students who attended rural schools were ready for high school.
Eberle’s family, who homesteaded in Craig, moved to Moffat County from Greeley in 1918. Her family moved because her uncle was drafted to fight in World War I and her grandfather needed somebody to take over the ranch. Her mother was a school teacher and her father was a teamster, a person who drove horses.
The days when her family homesteaded, she said, were times when people had to be tough.
When Eberle was 7, she had to ride three miles on horseback to school. She said her mother would call up to neighbors to make sure she would make it to school.
“That was the life we lived,” she said. “Horses were nothing new.”
Eberle attended country school and remembers always doing well in school.
Eberle said she was the eighth-grade spelling bee champion and her award for garnering the title was a trip to Denver with the superintendent.
“(The spelling bee) wasn’t as big as it is today,” she said. “I’m still a good speller, that’s one thing that hasn’t left me.”
After her freshman year in high school, she moved from the country school to Craig High School and graduated in 1929.
When she finished high school, she attended Colorado Teachers College in Greeley, now known as the University of Northern Colorado.
Eberle said in those days people simply had to pass a test to teach. Eberle would attend school in Greeley for a few quarters and then come back and teach.
After three years in Greeley, Eberle came back to Moffat County and taught in rural schools for eight years.
She was married in 1938 and became a ranch wife at a ranch near Hamilton.
In 1942 she had her first son, Michael, and four years later had her second son, James.
“She was just like any other mom,” Michael Eberle said. “She was a very knowledgeable woman but she was pretty much strictly business.”
Eberle and her husband sold the ranch and they moved west to another ranch. Soon after the move, Eberle and her husband divorced and Eberle moved to Craig where she has lived ever since.
After working as the superintendent of schools for eight years, Eberle worked in the county clerk and recorder office for seven years before retiring in 1981.
Although Eberle retired, she remained active in the community, volunteering at the hospital and Museum of Northwestern Colorado.
Dan Davidson, the director of the museum, said Eberle had a “photographic” memory and was very helpful at the museum.
“You could ask her any sort of questions,” he said. “She could tell you all sort of details about people.”
Eberle currently lives in Craig, and said while she still loves the community she has seen drastic changes.
“(The early1900s) were in the horse and buggy days,” she said. “Now we’re in the automotive and information times.”
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