Vera Sarah McDonald Mahaffey
Vera Sarah McDonald Mahaffey departed the Grand Junction community on Aug. 22, 2009 in her 92nd year of a full life. Vera was born in Rifle on June 28, 1917 to Alfred John and Nellie West McDonald, who were early Western Slope pioneers. Although money was tight in the depression era, Vera and her friends enjoyed swimming, tossing apricots in the windows of passing cars and Camp Fire Girl gatherings. The friends formed a tight group that lasted to her recent daily phone calls to Mable: “Well I’m still alive, how are you today?” Her father, Alfred, served as the Mayor and Fire Chief in Rifle where the McDonalds operated a laundry business that kept the entire family hard at work. Her marriage to Dean Mahaffey in January 1941 brought her to Grand Junction where they raised their three children: Merrill, Maureen & Margaret. After being widowed in 1959, Vera went to work for Union Carbide until she retired. She chose to remain single and anchored her family through seven decades in the house that was “home” to all and “cookie central” for the Frederick girls and their friends throughout high school. Her artistic gardens were admired by the whole neighborhood. Known as “Grammy,” Vera maintained a zest for life expressed in vigorous tickle-fights with her grandkids. With a quick smile and a contagious laugh, this peach-picking, jelly-making, puzzle-loving, bird-watching gardener provided a family fortress where one’s problems would disappear. Vera’s freely given homemade goodies kept her family’s hearts near home as they found lives away from Western Colorado. No doubt her memory will continue to supply strength and guidance to all who loved her. Grand Junction’s loss gives us deepened meaning to the phrase, “Store your treasure in Heaven.” Vera is survived by brother, Jack McDonald; son, Merrill Mahaffey (Jeanne); daughters, Maureen Frederick (John), Margaret Beckner (Orrin); grandchildren, Jerome Mahaffey, Eric Mahaffey, Spencer Mahaffey-Maat, Nancy Bell, Diane Shay, Deana Weber, Karen Gallegos, Cody Beckner, Peggi Johnson, Levi Beckner, Elizabeth Elgin, and 21 great-grand children (so far)! She was preceded in death by her husband, Dean Mahaffey and a brother, Arthur “Soapy” McDonald. Her legacy lives on in our hearts and homes! A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 2:00 P.M. at the Callahan-Edfast Mortuary Chapel. A reception will be held at the Botanical Gardens following the service. Private inurnment will take place at a later time. Memorial contributions may be made to either the Museum of Western CO at 462 Ute Avenue, Grand Junction,CO 81501; Mesa County Public library at 530 Grand Avenue, Grand Junction, CO 81501 OR Botanical Gardens of Western CO at 641 Struthers Ave, Grand Junction, CO 81501. Arrangements are under the direction of Callahan-Edfast Mortuary.
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After a gas line break was identified at the intersection of Midland Avenue and Mt. Sopris Drive, traffic is expected to resume at 1:30 p.m., the city said.