Super Seniors Part 2: North side of 80 is nothing for these active Garfield County residents

Compiled from reader nominations

the longevity event

Why do Garfield County and Colorado’s mountain resort areas in general have among the highest life expectancy in the country? Speaker Tony Buettner, with the Blue Zones Project, provides science-based answers on Monday, Sept. 24, during the Glenwood Springs Post Independent’s “The Longevity Project” event at Morgridge Commons/Colorado Mountain College (above the Glenwood Springs Library). Doors open at 5 p.m.; program starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25, including food and refreshments, and can be purchased online here.

Editor’s note: Each Sundays through Sept. 23, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent will run profiles on the “Super Seniors” of Garfield County aged 80 and older who were nominated online by readers earlier this summer as part of our Longevity Project.

Maryhannah Hansen Throm – Lifting people up

Maryhannah Hansen Throm has been an inspiration to many with her 90-plus years of giving back to the Western Slope community.

Growing up on a ranch on Divide Creek south of Silt, she moved into town in 1941 to attend Rifle Union High School and went on to become the valedictorian of the class of 1945. Locals call her “Hammer,” because she knows how to get things done!

Always active with volunteering, she started delivering Meals on Wheels while Grand River Health was then Clagett Memorial Hospital. She has consistently delivered meals for 27 years.

Maryhannah was on the original committee in 1982 that came up with the idea to launch LIFT-UP (Life Interfaith Team on Unemployment and Poverty) after “Black Sunday” in Rifle in May 1982 when the oil shale boom went bust.

Maryhannah is older than 90 percent of those she delivers meals to, and when asked why she still does she says — with a wry smile — “Because I can!” Her spunky and pioneering spirit is an inspiration to many who all have stated that this is who they would like to be when they grow up.

A video produced by Grand River Health offers a glimpse of this amazing, inspirational and young-at-heart volunteer.

“I particularly appreciate the line, ‘40 years from now if they are still delivering meals on wheels, maybe I can get them,’” writes Maryhannah’s nominator. Maryhannah is an inspiration to the future generations as she imparts the volunteering wisdom: “Do it when you can, do it with a smile, enjoy the people who are with you doing it and the people you are taking meals to.”

What an inspiration to the future generations of Colorado to volunteer whenever and for as long as possible.

Violet mooney – tending the garden

Violet Mooney is in her 90s and continues to be an avid gardener, growing and canning her own food and growing beautiful peonies.

She lives on her own near Canyon Creek west of Glenwood Springs. She is a wonderful, caring woman whom we love and admire, says her nominator.

She provides a memorized “philosophical reading” each month at the Glenwood Springs Garden Club meetings and provides historical input to the Garden Club.

She also works to keep the historic Canyon Creek Schoolhouse in good shape.

john skiff – lapping the field

Writes this very passionate Super Senior nominator:

I have been a part-time resident of Glenwood for near six years. I am a member of the Hot Springs Pool and, when in town I visit the pool at opening to walk laps and swim about. Over the past years I have grown to respect the number of committed “grown-ups” who visit the pool to soak, float, swim laps, chat or walk.

One man stands out, he says — John Skiff.

Small in stature, huge in strength and kindness, this man walks with the aid of forearm crutches from his home on the north side of the river, across the bridge to the pool … nearly every weekday.

Politely declining a ride to or from the pool, he walks across the bridge greeting all he passes with a kind word.

After greeting people in the lobby, he moves to the pool where he doffs the crutches and hoists them to his shoulders in the shallow end of the pool and walks toward the lap lanes. He arrives at the lap lanes and inserts ear plugs and wraps goggles around his ears. Should anyone be close by, he always greets them and engages in a short conversation. Then to work!

This man is post-80 years, and he begins his swim: taking two or three strokes in a forward crawl he flips to his back where he travels on his back to the opposite side. This man swims at a consistent pace for about 20 minutes.

He has impressed me in several ways: his commitment to the youth of the Western Slope where he taught school for many years. His kind approach to all, with a quick wit and a short story, brings a level of rare humanity. His strength to himself and this community is commendable, and I respect this “grown-up” tremendously.

Barbara segaul – water wonder

Barbara Segaul is our energizer bunny here at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale, according to her nominator.

She has been a water aerobics instructor for 18 years, she exercises every day, and her energy is inspirational at 83 years young.

She loves music and her classes are always a great workout, but more importantly, they are fun!

“Barbara is amazing and I’d love her to be recognized for all she does for our community. She is beautiful inside and out and still going strong, what an inspiration!”

Hal Sundin – 7,000 mile man

Hal Sundin of Glenwood Springs is 90 plus and still hikes with the 100 Club. He has earned his 7,000 miles pin and is still adding more miles this summer.

Hal is one of the originators of the 100 Club hiking and skiing group, and for years served as the lead organizer for the full season of hikes. He also has climbed all of Colorado’s 14ers (14,000-foot peaks) in the past and remembers with detail those and many, many past hikes.

He is a wildflower expert and knows the common and scientific names, which he happily shares with fellow hikers. Hal also writes a regular column for the Glenwood Springs Post Independent newspaper, called “As I See It.”

He is an active senior in body and mind and an inspiring nonagenarian.

Vivian Rubish – taking care of neighbors

Vivian is a 98-year-old woman who currently lives in the Manors Apartments in Glenwood Springs.

She has found her purpose in her community by baking cookies for the residents in her building. She lives independently and stays active with the crossword puzzles and game shows.

pat graddis – super volunteer

Pat Graddis has been a High Country Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteer since 2008.

Not only is she a volunteer, but at 88 she travels the world over! She also skis and hikes and grows a prolific vegetable garden.

She is community minded, takes Tai Chi classes, and participates in many activities involving music and art. Her style of dress is flamboyant and colorful and she does not look or act 88!

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