Obituary: Ramona Kirby

Ramona Kirby
Provided Photo
Ramona Kirby

August 19, 1928 – October 6, 2020

Ramona (Kayser) Kirby, 92, life time resident of Toponas, Colorado passed away peacefully with members of her family at her side at the Casey’s Pond Facility in Steamboat Springs, Colorado on Oct 6, 2020.

Ramona was born at home on the Kayser family ranch in Toponas, Colorado on August 19, 1928 to Hulda and Albert Kayser. Growing up Ramona, along with her 2 younger brothers were needed to help work on the ranch. Ramona’s job in the summer was driving a team of horses pulling the buck rake to help put up hay. Like many ranch raised kids of that time, Ramona and her brothers were homeschooled by their mother for their earlier years of education. Due to the hardships of the distance and winter weather of getting to school in Yampa, CO to attend her high school years, Ramona stayed with a family in Yampa while school was in session. After finishing high school, Ramona attended college in Greeley CO for two years. Ramona returned home after that time to marry Howard Kirby who also had been born and raised on his family ranch outside of Toponas. They were married in June of 1948. Having no sister of her own, Ramona said that marrying into a family with five Kirby sister-in-laws was one of the best things that could have happened to her. She cherished a wonderful life time relationship with each of them along with her own brother’s wives.

Howard and Ramona were married for 59 years and to this union, had eight children. Sherry, Randy, Jerry, Coleen, Floy, Kerry, Clay and Loren.

Ramona’s dream had always been to be a school teacher. Determined to make that happen, Ramona decided to continue her college education in the early 1970s by spending many hours doing correspondence classes through the mail to earn as many credits as she could. Then, with help from close family friends in Toponas, as well as both of her daughters being old enough to help Howard look after the younger kids during the week days, Ramona returned to college attending summer classes in Alamosa CO. She would leave home for Alamosa on Sunday nights and return home on Friday nights. When having earned the credits needed, Ramona was successful in graduating from Adams State College in Alamosa Colorado in August of 1973 with her teacher’s degree. A month later, in September, 1973, Ramona began teaching 3rd grade at the Soroco Elementary school in Yampa which she did for the next 34 years and loved every minute of it. The friendships that Ramona made with those teachers that she taught along with over those years, lasted long after she retired from teaching in 2005. Ramona was just short of being 77 years old when she taught her last class.

As a school teacher, Ramona was able to spend summers at home, raising and taking care of her family. Ramona was very involved in the Toponas community. She was the 4-H leader of the Busy Fingers 4-H club for many years, and was a life time active member of the Toponas Community Club. She was very instrumental in the restoration of the Community Hall in Toponas. Ramona loved to sew, cook and bake. People always loved her homemade bread which she made 7-8 loaves a week due to having a large family and that Howard did not like store bought bread. She liked all animals, but her dogs and horses over the years always held a special place in her heart. She really enjoyed and was quite good at so many arts and crafts such as leathercraft, woodworking, furniture reupholstering and many other talents. The students in her 3rd grade classes always had a very nice homemade special Christmas gift to give to their parents. There really wasn’t much that Ramona couldn’t do if she set her mind to doing it. Even doing the electrical wiring on their house when they remodeled it as well as helping her son-in law, Jock do all of his and Coleen’s new house in the early 1980. And yes, both houses passed inspections just fine.

Toponas was always home for Howard and Ramona. Howard passed away in June of 2007. With help from Randy (her oldest son), Ramona remained in that same house that she and Howard had lived and raised all their children until she had the stroke in July of 2016. The effects of the stroke required her to become a resident at the Assisted Living at Casey’s Pond in Steamboat Springs. There was no place that Ramona loved more than her home in Toponas with the wonderful view of the Flattops that she so enjoyed looking at every day.

Ramona’s children will always remember their mother as the rock and the hand that held her family together through good and bad times. People who were fortunate enough to have known her, respected her. She was a teacher who not only loved her job, but loved seeing a student overcome challenges and achieve success even more.

Ramona was proceeded in death by Howard Kirby (her husband of 59 years), two sons (Jerry Kirby and Clay Kirby), one daughter (Sherry Kirby), her parents (Hulda and Albert Kayser), and two brothers (Eugene Kayser and Joe Kayser). She is survived by three sons, Randy Kirby, Kerry (Valerie) Kirby, and Loren (Lisa) Kirby and two daughters, Coleen (Jocko) Camilletti and Floy (Tony) Kirby-Vogt, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren).

Due to the current health concerns and risks of holding a service at this time, the family is hoping that A Celebration of Life for Ramona can be held next spring.

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