PHOENIX, Ariz.—Arletta Rose “Atha” Fairchild, 87, passed away in Phoenix, Ariz. on Feb. 25, 2013. She was born to Arlie and Clara (Davis) Atha in Liberal, Kan. on Oct. 29, 1925.
Soon after, the family moved to Del Norte where she spent most of her childhood. For parts of fourth and eighth grades, she lived in Phoenix, where her dad worked shipping lettuce, but returned to graduate from Del Norte High School in 1943.
On Aug. 15, 1943, still only 17 years old and too young to marry in Colorado, she and Byron (Barney) E. Fairchild married in Taos, N.M. They spent the next 58 years together in Creede until his death in 2001.
Arletta worked her entire life performing many different jobs; trimming lettuce, cleaning cabins, baking bread and cinnamon rolls, painting houses, keeping books, and being a supportive wife, mother, and friend. Her pantry and kitchen were open to all who stopped by: family (especially grandkids), friends, coworkers, and even strangers; she cooked for everyone.
Vacations were spent in the outdoors with family, and friends: jeeping to the highest peaks to look off Bristol Head, Stoney Pass, Fisher Mountain, Heart Lake, even snowmobiling to Lake City. Her hobbies were painting pictures, planting flowers in her yard, working word puzzles, and playing cards and games with family and friends, and no matter what their ages: rules were rules.
Arletta was involved with Ladies Aide, Rebecca’s, Snowbird Club, and her own Canasta group on Tuesdays. For 29 years, she and Barney were caretakers at Pearl Lakes. Upon retiring from Pearl Lakes, she became a Mineral County dispatcher at night. This job fit her schedule perfectly and she loved it. In 2006, she moved back to Del Norte to an apartment, until 2009 when she moved to Phoenix to avoid the cold weather. She loved the year round warm weather.
Arletta was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, four siblings; Vern Atha, Mabel Smith, Velma Brannan, and Harold “Hev” Atha. She is survived by her children; daughter Connie (George) Zimpleman, and sons Chuck (Jody) Fairchild and Bill (Kim) Fairchild, seven grandchildren; Michael, Jeffrey, Daniel, Chad, Margo (Bryan Eubank), Kyle and Dusty, plus nine great grandchildren; Zeah, Zoie, Cully, Baylor, Cade, Lila, Charlie, Jadyn and Kye. She is also survived by three sisters-in-law Wilma Atha (Hev) and Edna Miles (Bud), Eileen “Bunny” Schlough (Jerry) and two brothers-in-law; Frank Fairchild and Richard Fairchild and numerous nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 24, 2 p.m. at the Community Church in Creede. A gathering to celebrate her life will follow at the Creede Community Center. Everyone is welcome.