Barbara Relyea

Barbara Jeanne Relyea (Lilly)

Thursday, September 20th, 1923 - Saturday, September 28th, 2019
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Barbara Jeanne Relyea passed away peacefully surrounded by love on September 28, 2019. Barbara, who just celebrated her 96th birthday, was born in Lewistown, Illinois, to Frank E. and Esther E. Lilly. She married Abram J. Relyea in 1950 and they had 4 children, Jim, Sandra, Linda, and Scott. They met in New York, lived for a time in Illinois and settled in Colorado.

After graduating from high school, Barbara attended Western Illinois on a full-ride scholarship for two years then suspended her college education to begin working as a secretary at Camp Ellis, an army training camp. One summer, between semesters at Western Illinois, Barbara worked in Winslow, Arizona, in one of the Fred Harvey Hotels, serving meals to troops who came through on the train.

After WWII ended, Barbara finished her BA from Colorado State University and later earned her master’s degree from Adams State University. She taught home economics at the Alamosa Junior High School for over three decades and was one of the surviving members of the AJHS Group W. During that time, she earned Teacher of the Year in Conservation and Home Economics Teacher of the Year. In 2012, she was in the first class inducted into the Adams State Educators Hall of Fame. Barbara was ahead of her time, her teaching pedagogy included many hands-on activities and events to stimulate her students and prepare them for adult life. She established Job Days and organized an outdoor classroom experience in which students spent three days at Beaver Creek Youth Camp. She ran a little restaurant out of the Home Economics Department for a week and planned a career-day for all 3 grades of the Alamosa Junior High School called “A Fair of the Heart.” She was a 4-H leader and Future Homemakers of America leader.

Barbara loved outdoor activities including hunting, camping, hiking, and riding horses. She was an accomplished seamstress and made clothes for herself and many of her family members including making wedding dresses for both daughters and her granddaughter.

Barbara is preceded in death by her husband, Abram; her brother, John; sister, Dorothy; and her parents. She is survived by her four children, Jim (Yvon Boss); Sandra; Linda (Chris Medina), and Scott. Five grandchildren Sarah (Adrian) Ramirez, Matt (Sarah) Relyea, Sean Grady, Joshua Medina, and Dale Relyea; and six great-grandchildren Adrian, Ashley, Aden, and Aaron Ramirez; Phoebe and Robin Relyea.

The immediate family appreciates the care and attention The Bridge showed their mom, her home for the last five years, especially in the last month of Barbara’s life when the staff went above and beyond to make her comfortable.

A Memorial Service is planned for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the First United Methodist Church in Alamosa. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Hospice del Valle or The Nature Conservancy in Colorado.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 | 2:00pm
    Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 2:00pm
    First United Methodist Church
    2005 Mullins Avenue
    Alamosa, Colorado 81101
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Marsha Gallagher

Posted at 01:18pm
Dear Jim, Yvon and all of Barbara's family,
Sending you our heartfelt sympathy to all of you! I have very fond memories of Barbara and especially one trip to Steamboat when your dad was a County Commissioner with Tim. It was a summer conference and our girls were young and we all went for a drive in the mountains to take in the scenery. Your mom was so knowledgeable about all the wildflowers and shared this with us.I loved her zest for life and learning. Of course I also remember when your folks used to come in with the whole family to the Cow Camp restaurant that my parents owned and we were always so happy to see your family enjoying each others company. Our girls loved your mom as their teacher and the restaurant she always initiated at Ortega Middle School, it was one of their favorite things. She had so much patience with her students and taught them well. She was a beautiful spirit and she touched all our lives.
Thinking of you all!
Marsha and Tim Gallagher

Theresa Rudder

Posted at 12:18pm
My memories of Barbara are many but the one I want to share is for my son, Robby. Barbara was his teacher in the Home Life class when he was in middle school. One of his proudest moments was coming home with two stuffed pillows that he had made in her class. One was a heart and one was a rainbow. One was for me and one was for him. We kept those pillows displayed in his room until he graduated from high school. Robby really learned a lot from Barbara. He appreciated her as a teacher and I appreciated her as a friend. RIP Barbara.

Cheryl Dobler

Posted at 11:35am
Mrs. Relyea was an awesome Home Ec. teacher. Always looked forward to her classes in Jr. High. Job well done. My deepest sympathy to her family.

Kathie (Milsom) Schneider

Posted at 10:50am
Mrs. Relyea was one of my favorite teachers. She made home ec so enjoyable and she was so easy to talk to. Rest in pease Mrs. Releya.

Edwina Brady

Posted at 12:45am
The home economics teachers of the Valley had a very close friendship and lots of good times together. Barbara was such a good friend and inspiration to me for many years. What a great lady! Edwina Brady, Centauri High School, 1965-1990.

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