Living a charmed life in Rifle
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado ” Genevieve Clough knows that she’s lived a blessed life.
But the 84-year-old Rifle resident shares that blessing by giving back to her community in so many ways – and not just for the holidays.
Clough’s family has lived in Rifle since 1929. Her late husband, Bill Clough, who passed away in 2006, had ancestors here that date back to 1899.
Bill and Genevieve knew each other all their lives since they were young kids, she recalls with a warm smile.
“We lived across the street from each other and we used to play under the street lights on the corners after supper until our mothers called us in,” she recalled.
Bill’s family left the area and moved to Denver in 1930 during the Depression, but Genevieve would still see him during the summers.
“We were still basically connected and then they came back and his parents built this house on Fifth Street (in Rifle),” she said.
Genevieve lost her parents as a teenager, but Bill’s parents took her in.
“(Bill and I) were constantly thrown together,” she remembered.
And although it was predicted that the pair would one day get married, Genevieve had her own thoughts.
“Not a chance,” she said with a laugh.
The two eventually went their separate ways and after the war, Bill came back to the area and became involved in the sheep industry growing wool. During that time, his grandparents bought up small parcels of acreage which gradually accumulated to a large area of land.
Meanwhile, Bill told Genevieve that he wanted to marry her. However, she wasn’t so hot on the idea.
“I didn’t think he was marriage material,” she confessed, smiling.
And then he dared her to get a marriage license, which she did.
“Then we had a quarrel and I ripped it to shreds,” she said with a laugh.
But when they went to get married, Bill surprised her by pulling out another marriage license and the two were legally hitched.
“Basically, we’d been together all our lives, but we were married for 21 years,” she said. “We always got along really, really well. He always took care of me.”
In the 1970s, Bill sold his sheep and retired. The family now included four children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, who still live in the area today and whom Genevieve sees on a regular basis.
Genevieve was born in Oklahoma and her father worked in law enforcement in Silt and Rifle while she attended schools in Rifle.
At one point, Genevieve moved away for 10 years, but eventually came back to Rifle and married Bill.
“I led a very, very ordinary life,” she said with a shrug. “It was just plain old me.”
Genevieve now owns more than 9,000 acres of land between Rifle and Anvil Points and money from oil and gas drilling has been very lucrative to the Clough family.
And along with their good fortune, Bill and Genevieve have always donated generously back to the community.
“They’ve been very generous to LIFT-UP,” said Mike Powell executive director of the local non-profit organization which serves the communities from Carbondale to Parachute. “I’ve worked with them for six years.”
And now, as a former school teacher, Genevieve’s caring about education is evident in her contributions to educational causes.
She started two separate fellowship programs. One is administered through the Western Colorado Community Foundation and the other through the Colorado Mountain College Foundation.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 funds aren’t directed toward students who can pay for college or who are eligible for scholarships. It’s for those caught in the middle and the amount of the scholarship is based on individual student needs and on the tuition of the college chosen.
“We gave out 57 scholarships last year to wherever they wanted to go,” Genevieve said. “This is for those middle bunch of kids that make good grades but won’t get scholarships. I just don’t think you can grow if you’re not educated. And not all kids can go to college ” it’s not economically feasible. These kids are the backbone of our society.”
Along with her local contributions, Genevieve also donates to an orphanage in Africa through the Rocky Mountain Baptist Church in Rifle, the Red Cross and other charitable organizations.
“Things haven’t always been good for us, but it was the gas companies that set us up,” she said honestly. “That’s why I think education is so important. And that’s why I’m trying to do more for the middle classes.”
When she’s not dealing with business issues, Genevieve says she lives an easy, quiet life.
“Life is fun. I’m a house person ” I read, sew, make dolls, play the organ and see my family,” she said. “I have been so blessed and I feel I should help others. I’ve lived a charmed life and I love it.”
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