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Morgan and Bruce: Glenwood gets its two centenarians’ worth

Donna Daniels

Two women who have seen more of history than possibly anyone in the Roaring Fork Valley were honored by the Colorado Commission on the Aging Monday.

Lois Bruce and Margaret Morgan, both residents of Glen Valley Care Center in Glenwood Springs, were honored as centenarians, people who have lived to be at least 100 years old.

Morgan will celebrate 106 years Oct. 13 and Bruce will turn 101 on Nov. 15.

Glenwood Springs Mayor Don Vanderhoof and Mary Jane Hangs, from the Colorado Commission on the Aging, attended the ceremony.

According to the plaques they received, the commission paid tribute to the women “who having lived for 100 years or longer exemplify the triumph of a century of survivorship during the period of the world’s greatest change.”

The commendations were signed by Gov. Bill Owens.

Bruce was born in 1901, in Perry, Kan. A few days after her birth, the family took off in a covered wagon to homestead on the Panhandle of Oklahoma.

Her grandmother was a seamstress and taught her and her mother to sew. Her mother died of uremic poisoning after the birth of Bruce’s younger sister, according to a biography of Bruce on file in the Glen Valley records.

When she and her brother were old enough to go to school, the family moved into town. Lois went to school four days a week and worked one day a week as a laundress.

She also lived with a family in town for a time.

In the 1940s, Lois married Dr. Clarence Shull, a school teacher and Navy physician, who practiced family medicine in Glenwood Springs until his death in 1949.

After his death, Lois married New Castle sheep rancher Vernon Bruce, whose family had lived in the area since the early 1900s. Vernon and Lois moved to Glenwood Springs after he retired in 1963.

The couple lived in a little house on 16th and Grand Avenue, where Lois grew prize-winning flowers and Vernon grew vegetables.

Margaret Morgan’s parents homesteaded Three Mile Creek outside Glenwood Springs, where they operated a dairy.

Morgan married a rancher and miner and had her daughter Catherine, but the marriage lasted only a few years.

In 1925, she took a housekeeping job in the Redstone Inn and Cleveholm Manor, where coal magnate John Cleveland Osgood lived, just down the road from the inn.

She met her second husband Ray in 1926, when he was also employed at the inn.

Morgan was a great horsewoman and became a guide on the Flat Tops.

In 1932, she and Ray bought land on the Four Mile Road and lived there for the rest of their married life.

One of her best known adventures was a solo trip she took from Glenwood Springs to Durango in 1933. Her job was to deliver a string of seven horses to a Forest Service station in Durango.

“I made the 238-mile trip alone into strange country,” she said in her 1989 biography, “As Near as I Can Remember.”

“I decided I needed some protection, so I wore a pistol all the way on the trip,” she wrote.

She stayed at ranches along the way, arranging for pasture for the horses.

On the seventh day she arrived at the ranger station in Durango. The next morning the ranger took her to the bus station in Durango to catch the bus for Grand Junction.

“I loaded my saddle onto the bus and headed for Glenwood Springs and home,” Morgan wrote.

Morgan and Bruce also received beautiful bouquets of roses Monday.


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