‘A very, very, very special lady’
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado – There just aren’t enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe how wonderful Genevieve Clough was and what she meant to everyone, according to her family.
“She was the most generous, selfless, amazing creature God made on this planet,” said her granddaughter, Stormy Anderson. “She was one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life. She was driven. She was precise. She was fantastic. And she had the biggest heart.”
And along with being a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, Genevieve Clough was a great philanthropist to the city of Rifle and even in other countries.
Genevieve was laid to rest on Oct. 28, 2010, having passed away on Oct. 24, 2010, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. She was 86.
Nearly 300 people – both young and old – attended the memorial service which was held in the Clough Auditorium, which she had helped to finance at Colorado Mountain College’s West Garfield campus off Airport Road in Rifle.
Thanks to Genevieve’s generosity, over the past three years, more than 155 students in western Garfield County – who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity – received financial aid and were able to go to college through two fellowship programs she established in 2007. One program is administered through the Western Colorado Community Foundation and the other through the Colorado Mountain College Foundation. The programs are for high school students graduating from Rifle High School, Coal Ridge High School in New Castle and Grand Valley High School in Parachute, along with recent GED achievers. The scholarships are intended for those who are caught in the middle and the scholarship amount is tailored based on the need of the individual student and the tuition cost of the college that is chosen.
Recipients this year include Tiffany Cose, a graduate of Grand Valley High School in Parachute, who will be the first member of her immediate family to go to college. She plans to enroll in the vet tech program at CMC’s Spring Valley campus in Glenwood Springs.
Brandon Simmons, also a Grand Valley High School graduate, plans to pursue an engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines.
Magaly Lozano, a Rifle High School graduate, wants to work toward a nursing degree at CMC.
Tammy Snyder, a graduate of Coal Ridge High School, plans to enroll in CMC’s nursing program, too.
Gabriel Gallacher, a Rifle High School graduate, has his sites set on a political science degree at the University of Colorado.
Family, friends and those who have been recipients of her incredible generosity all came to bid Genevieve farewell. Treasured photos of Genevieve and her husband, Bill Clough, family members and scholarship recipients graced poster boards on easels at the entrance of the auditorium.
Pastor Jim Sheets of Rocky Mountain Baptist Church in Rifle officiated the service.
“We are here to say farewell to a very, very, very special lady,” Sheets said. “I thank God that she touched my life.”
Not only did Clough start the two college scholarship funds and donated to numerous charitable causes throughout Rifle, her philanthropy was also extended around the world. Through the Clough Family Foundation, she financed orphans in Zimbabwe, a country in the southern part of Africa, with classrooms, an orphanage, teacher housing, cows for the orphans to help them be self-sustaining, clothing and food.
“She not only changed lives here, but changed lives in other countries with her giving and her heart,” Sheets said. “And she never wanted to be bragged about or recognized. She is a lady that will never be replaced. She was a lady of class and dignity with a heart bigger than anyone I can think of.”
Alexandra Yajko, former CEO of the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, said Genevieve Clough was like a mother to her.
“She was a person to whom I could share my thoughts and feelings,” Yajko said. “She gave loving advice and honest thoughts and guidance. She was like my mother. I lost my mother early in life. [Genevieve and I] shared so many wonderful times together. I have been so blessed and privileged to have her as a part of my life. It’s an emotional attachment that will remain with me as long as I live.”
Debra Crawford, public information officer for CMC, echoed the sentiments.
“[Genevieve] has left the people of western Garfield County an extraordinary legacy, and we are honored to be able to continue to carry out her wishes,” she said.
Anderson remembers when Genevieve used to take all four of the grandkids for one month during the summers.
“She would save money all year long and take us to Sea World or Disney World and ride the rides with us,” Anderson recalled with a big smile. “And she had a whistle to call us that you could hear miles away. It didn’t matter if you were indoors or outdoors – she would whistle and all four kids would come running.”
Other memories include bananas and mayonnaise snacks and learning how to count with rocks.
“She just was magic to us,” Anderson remembered. “She taught us how to rollerskate. And she always had white carpet in her house. She never yelled at us – but she would tell it how it was. And she really pushed all of us to be everything we could be.”
Anderson also recalled how much it meant to Genevieve to be able to help put kids through college and the orphans in Zimbabwe.
“She just loved these kids and she got a chance to change their lives,” Anderson said. “She discovered Zimbabwe. They called her the ‘Queen of Colorado.”
Not only did Genevieve change the lives of students, but she put her own self through college at the age of 50 and worked as a school teacher.
She married Bill Clough in 1985. He passed away in 2006. This year would have been their 25th wedding anniversary.
“She missed him terribly,” Anderson said.
In an interview two years ago, Genevieve laughed when she recalled how she and Bill grew up living across the street from each other in Rifle and how they played together as kids. They eventually went their separate ways, but found their way back together.
“Although, I didn’t think he was marriage material,” she had confessed with a chuckle. “But basically, we’d been together all our lives and we always got along really, really well. He always took care of me.”
She has likely rejoined Bill, but her family will miss her terribly.
“She was our caretaker,” Anderson said. “She knew all the bad stuff, but loved us anyway. I miss talking to her. I miss her voice, her strength. She was my foundation – my stability. I wanted to emulate her so much. They’re such big little shoes to fill. We’ll just try to continue what she started and make life better for other people.”
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