Dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of Park County, Colorado

In Memoriam

In fond rememberance of those who gave so much of their time and energy to support the preservation of Park County's history and heritage.

Jane Ann Gilsinger

1940 - 2020

Jane Ann Gilsinger was born on Feb. 8, 1940, in Rensselaer, Ind. to Mabel Marie (O’Brien) and Clarence John Gilsinger. The family then moved to Goodland, Ind. where Jane grew up with her older sister, Rita, and attended Goodland High School.

After graduating, she moved to Denver, Colo. and attended the University of Denver, earning a master’s degree in library science. She was the librarian at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Colo. for a number of years and lived in Golden, Colo. Jane retired in 1980 and moved up to Bailey, Colo., fulfilling her dream of living in the mountains.

While living in Park County, Jane was a leading figure in preserving the history of the county. Her work included preserving oral histories from long-time residents, collecting and cataloguing historical documents, and helping to make photos and other material available both in person and on-line through her volunteer work with the Park County Historical Society, Bailey Library and especially with the Park County Local History Archives. She also attended and volunteered at a local Catholic Church. She thoroughly enjoyed her wide circle of friends who will miss her.

Jane enjoyed traveling and visited several other continents. She was an avid outdoors woman, often hiking and four-wheeling with friends in the Colorado mountains, accompanied by her two cairn terrier dogs.

Ms. Gilsinger moved to Littleton, Colo. in 2017 where she passed away peacefully on Aug. 11, 2020. She was buried in the Horn Cemetery, U.S. Highway 285, in Bailey, after a private service on Aug. 19, 2020.

Jane was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her sister, Rita.

Donations in her name can be sent to the Humane Society of your choice.

Leona Claire Nelson

1931 - 2020

Leona Claire Nelson passed away peacefully at her home in Shawnee, Colo. on March 31, 2020. She was 89 years old.

Leona was born February 25, 1931 to Joseph and Oma Smith in Tribune, Kan., the eighth of nine children. She grew up on the farm in western Kansas and became an accomplished horsewoman and gardener. She married Donald Peterson in 1948 and had four children, Larry, Jeanne, Michael and Marcia.

After moving to Colorado in 1954 and working on sugar beet farms and cattle ranches in northern Colorado, Donald and Leona divorced in 1960. She moved to Aurora and raised her four children alone for seven years before marrying Leroy H. Nelson in 1967.

Roy and Leona moved to the mountains in 1968 to a 75-acre ranch on Pleasant Park Road in Conifer where they raised horses, cows, chickens, rabbits and kids. Leona became involved with the local 4-H club as a leader and drove a school bus for Jefferson County Schools for 10 years, and was a member of Pleasant Park Grange.

Roy and Leona purchased the Shawnee Store in 1978 and moved to Shawnee in 1979, and opened the Shawnee Store. Leona became involved in Park County politics and shared her opinions with anyone who came in, calling the store the “HOPU – hotbed of political unrest.” She gave of herself to what she thought were worthy causes and was very involved, serving on the Republican Central Committee, the Park County Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment.

Leona served more than 30 years as a member of the South Platte Water Conservancy District and was on the Shawnee Water Consumers Association board of directors for more than 30 years.

She loved growing flowers and always had beautiful flowers growing in front of the store. Leona was also an expert at knitting and crocheting, and needlepoint sewing. She made and sold hundreds of baby booties, scarfs and mittens in the store over the years.

Leona was preceded in death by her eight siblings; her first husband Donald Peterson (2017); her second husband Roy Nelson (2007); her son Larry (2013) and daughter Jeanne (2015). She is survived by her two youngest children, Mike Peterson and Marci McGarvey, along with four grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and six step-great grandchildren.

A memorial service is being planned and will be held sometime this coming summer. In lieu of flowers, Leona wanted donations to be made in her name to the Mountain Peace Shelter in Bailey. Donations can be sent to PeaceWorks, P.O. Box 836, Bailey CO 80421-0836.

Gerald Dean “Jerry” Burk

1931 - 2019

Gerald Dean “Jerry” Burk of Bailey, Colo., passed away Tuesday, Feb. 19, in Broomfield, Colo. His health had declined following a stroke in January of 2018. He was 88 years old.

He was born on Jan. 23, 1931, in Eagleton, Ark., to Girld and Agnes Burk. Jerry graduated from Portola High School, California, in 1948. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in January of 1951. He studied to be an aircraft mechanic and was discharged in 1955. He graduated from Fresno State College with a Bachelors in Geology.

Jerry started post graduate studies at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., where he met Janet Thomson. He secured a job with the Bureau of Reclamation, starting out in Moses Lake, Wash. Janet and Jerry were married on March 30, 1963. Jerry accepted a position in Phoenix, Ariz., where they lived for four years. They enjoyed escaping the heat by camping in the high country.

He transferred to Willows, Calif. in 1967. He joined a sailplane club and spent time flying gliders and also driving a tow vehicle (their 1964 Ford Custom) at the local airport and Rabbit Dry Lake near Reno.

His lifelong passion for aviation grew. In 1968 they moved to Carmichael, Calif., and welcomed a daughter into the world, Christine Marie. Jerry obtained his private pilot’s license while in Carmichael.

He worked at Pyramid Lake, Nev. for some time, until the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation offered a position at the Federal Center in Lakewood, Colo. The family moved to Colorado in the winter of 1975.

Shortly after arriving in Colorado, Jerry expanded his aviation pursuits by joining the Foothills Squadron of the Colorado Civil Air Patrol. He remained active with the Civil Air Patrol until 2006, when he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 31 years of service. He was also a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and Association of Engineering Geologists. Unofficial affiliations included a charter membership in the ROMEO Club (Retired Old Men Eating Out).

Jerry continued working for the Bureau, spending months at Brantley Dam, Carlsbad, N.M. Toward the end of his career he spent a month in Kuala Lumpur, working on a project with the Malaysian government.

Jerry retired from the Bureau in June of 1993. In 1997, the Burks fully embraced retirement, moving to the beautiful mountain hamlet of Bailey. There he supported the Friends of the Bailey Library, the Park County Historical Society, participated in Silverset (senior) activities and enjoyed Tuesday coffee at the Knotty Pine with friends.

He was an avid reader, loved to travel and had a lifelong interest in geology. A big, gentle, bear of a man, he was intelligent, soft spoken, and had a keen sense of humor and was a good listener.

He is survived by his wife, Janet; a daughter, Christine (Andrew) Keating; a sister, Irma (Stewart) Johnston; and brother, Bill Burk; as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Girld and Agnes. A celebration of life will be held in Bailey later this spring. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Civil Air Patrol:

1932 - 2018

James Price

Born on September 20, 1932 in Kirwin, Kansas. James passed away on May 16, 2018 in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he resided the last year of his life.

He is survived by his sister, Glenda Price Marshall of Bailey, six of his children: Margaret Martinez of Mounds, OK, Jim Price Jr. of Arboles, CO, Richard Price of Taylorsville, NC, Cary Price of Bailey, Tanya Rivas of Pagosa Springs, CO & David Price of Mooresville, NC. He is also survived by 16 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren & 4 great-great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents Clint Price & Emma Powers Price & his son, Daniel Allen Price.

Interment at Ft. Logan National Cemetery.

1943 - 2017

Linda Sue Bjorklund

Linda  was born in Sheridan, Wyoming in 1943 to parents Arthur and Opal Berens.

The family moved to Sioux City, Iowa shortly after her birth. Linda lived in Sioux City until 1981 when she and her family moved to Denver. In 1997, she and her husband bought a property in Hartsel and realized their life-long dream of living on a mountain.

Linda, was a long time, multi-talented and active community member of Park County, She passed away July 11, 2017 leaving a hole in the hearts of friends and family, as well as many organizations in which she served. 

Linda was a prolific author who penned several books about the history of Park County. She authored several historical books, including “Burros!” “Gold in the Gravel,” “Over Boreas Pass,” “Hartsel: History of a Town,” “The Stagecoach,” “Doin’ Time in Fairplay,” “A Brief History of Fairplay” and “Richard Sopris in Denver: Captain, Mayor and Fifty-Niner.”  She also gave many presentations on history and audience members would be enthralled because she was so enthused about the topic. 

Linda was not an ordinary volunteer. She frequently stepped into a role and quickly became the backbone of an organization, serving as a leader, filling in gaps and solving problems.

Linda was a Director, Park County Local History Archives, served as Administrator, South Park City, served as President of the Hartsel Community Center Board, served on the Park County Republican Central Ccommittee, served as the Chairman of the Board of the Hartsel Fire Protection District, and she was active in the Buena Vista American Legion Post 55.

1926 - 2017

Eva Elizabeth (Connell) Kuenn

Eve was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on September 24, 1926, to George Dewey and Eva Elizabeth Connell and was known as "Little Eva" to family and friends.

After graduating fro St. Agnes High School in 1944 with her best friend Rosemarle Heckman, she pursued a degree in nursing.  As World War II was coming to a close, Eve attended nursing school during the day and worked as a telephone operator in the evenings to earn extra income.

Eve corresponded with her high school sweetheart, a young soldier by the nickname "Corky," during the year and when he returned home they married on June 6, 1947.  While her husband attended pharmacy school and later opened his own drugstore in Indianapolis, Eve was kept busy with their growing family of four sons.  In 1959, Eve and Corky happily decided to move to Colorado.  There a daughter and another son were added to the Kuenn clan.

Eve loved everything about Colorado; the beauty of the mountains the dry climate, and the rich history of her new home state.  She possessed a keen mind that never tired of exploring, reading, and learning in all her areas of interest, which were countless.  There is so mush more to be said of the incredible woman.

Eve possessed a beautiful heart, mind, soul, and spirit which she shared generously with God, her family, and her many dear friends.

Eve was a former Director of the Park County Historical Society and was a dedicated volunteer in all their endeavours.

1911 - 2005

Harold M. Warren

Harold was born Oct. 19, 1911, in Clay Center, Kansas. He and his wife Lenore made a life together searching for and finding traces of Indians in Park and Jefferson counties. They lived in Park County near Bailey for over 50 years.

He had been researching local history for most of that time as well as writing numerous articles for the Fairplay Flume.

Harold was Captain of Troop A of the Colorado Mountain Rangers when they headquartered at Bailey, Commander of the Sheriff’s Posse, leader of National Rifle Association’s Junior Rifle Club and taught hunter safety classes for the what was then known as the Colorado Game and Fish Department.

Harold presented historical programs to schools and other organizations for many years. The community remembered him as the "Park County Historian". He was an employee of the Social Security Board, U.S. Geological Survey and was retired from the United States Forest Service. 

Harold was the founder and first president of the Park County Historical Society, The Park County Historical Society unveiled a plaque identifying the blue spruce tree planted in memory of Harold at McGraw Memorial Park in Bailey.