Elna Mae Ryden

Elna Mae Ryden of New Castle died Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2003, at E. Dene Moore Nursing Home in Rifle. She was 81.

She was born May 7, 1922, in Saguache to Donald William and Hulda Johanna Anderson Alexander. The family moved to New Castle when she was 10 years old, and she lived there the rest of her life.

She married Theodore Franklin Ryden on June 8, 1940, in Glenwood Springs. They were farmers and ranchers on Main Elk Creek.

Mrs. Ryden was a talented woman and a hard worker.

With her daughter, she owned and operated the Shady Court Trailer Park in New Castle for 11 years. After that, they raised ostriches and emus, and for a time raised chinchillas.

She and her husband converted an old blacksmith shop into a beautiful home for their family.

Her greatest talent was in electrical wiring. She studied electrical wiring and wanted to become a licensed electrician, but couldn’t get certified because she was a woman. That didn’t stop her. She wired her own home and homes for neighbors, and each passed inspection. Some contractors said she was a better electrician than some who were licensed.

Mrs. Ryden was talented with crafts and made furniture from sagebrush.

She had a great political mind and frequently wrote letters to senators and congressmen on many issues.

She belonged to the Elk Creek Homemakers Club, was the first secretary for the Garfield County Farm Bureau, was a 4-H leader for many years, and served on the founders committee for the New Castle Recreation Center.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Theodore “Ted” Franklin Ryden in December 2001; by her parents, Donald and Hulda Alexander; by sisters Mildred Dunsdon, Nora Ruth Bernklau and Penny Eccher; and by brothers Cupper Alexander and Dewey Alexander.

Mrs. Ryden is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Charles and Angela Ryden of New Castle; by a daughter, Lois Ryden of Lakewood; by a foster son and his wife, Ralph and Pat Smith of Rifle; by sisters and brothers-in-law Donna and Earl Dawson of Rifle, Joan and Harold Key of Moab, Utah; by brother and sister-in-law William and Margaret Alexander of Palisade; by sisters-in-law Louise Ryden of Denver and Doreen Alexander of Delta; and by brother-in-law Carl Bernklau of Rifle.

She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and their spouses, 15 great-grandchildren: Tamara and Danny Moss and daughters Heidi and Lorna Moss; Laura and Keith Galloway and sons Tyson, Clayton and Ethan Galloway; Conrad and Dawn Ryden and children Layn, Brittany, Danielle and Ben; Justin and Janice Ryden and sons J.C., Cody and Marc; Wesley Ryden; Kira Ryden and daughter Brenna; Gwen and Jeff Moore and son Ashton Moore; Tony and Vikki DiGuglielmo; Neil Smith; Donnie and Nancy Smith and son Jacob Smith.

Visitation will be from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Rifle Funeral Home, 1400 Access Road in Rifle.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Rifle Funeral Home. Burial will be at Red Glen Ranch Cemetery on the Ryden family ranch, with the Rev. Dr. Charles Jones of the First Baptist Church of New Castle officiating.

Pallbearers will be Danny Moss, Keith Galloway, Conrad Ryden, Justin Ryden, Wesley Ryden, Jeff Moore, Tony DiGuglielmo, Donnie Smith and Neil Smith.

Rifle Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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