1921 - 2012
CAL member John M. Ward passed away April 8, 2012. A librarian and author, John joined CAL in August 1979. Along with his career as public librarian he dreamed of becoming a commercially successful author. After 50, he realized that dream, writing humorous essays and light verse, mostly based on his own experiences. He valued his membership in CAL and enjoyed his informal title as "poet laureate" of Windsor Gardens.
Born in 1921, John was a U.S. Navy officer during World War II and a recipient of the Bronze Star for service in the south Pacific. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jane Ingley Ward, three children, Frank Ward, Las Cruces, New Mexico; Ken Ward, Portland, Oregon; and Nancyjane Acosta, Ankeny, Iowa. Additionally, he is survived by five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Frank Ward said his father was “flattered to be a member of the League and loved the camaraderie” as well as the opportunity to meet so many other writers.
1917 - 2012
Magazine writer Frances Traher, 94, a member of the Colorado Authors League since 1960, passed away peacefully under hospice care on April 3, 2012. Prior to her death, which followed a career distinguished by seven Top Hand awards, Frances had held the longest tenure of any current CAL member.
Wife of internationally acclaimed mural painter William Traher (1908-1984), Frances was a fixture on the Denver arts scene for decades. She was best known in the 1980s for articles she authored for national art publications such as “Art West” and “Southwest Art.” She also wrote for regional publications, among them, “Colorado Homes and Lifestyles” and “Muse.”
During the period from 1948 through 1976, nearly 50 of Frances’ fiction stories were published in magazines such as “True Story” and “True Confessions.” An innovator in the confession genre, she was an exemplar of the “story-article,” which offered mass audiences practical approaches to dealing with family crises and other day-to-day challenges faced by contemporary women. Frances researched her story-articles meticulously, conferring frequently with experts in the fields of medicine, law, psychology, and sociology. Along with her colleagues Dorothy Kostka and Gladys V. Bauer, Frances was profiled in a feature story entitled “Denver’s Big Three in the Confession Writing Field” that appeared in the “Denver Post” on February 10, 1957. The article highlighted the three writers’ efforts to bring depth and quality to the confession field.
In the mid-1940s, Frances headed the copy department for Philip H. Gray, Inc., a Denver advertising agency. Among her notable creative successes at the agency was “Grogan the Grocer,” a humorous column she originated for the grocery trade publication, “Progressive Grocer.”
During World War II, Frances conceived a radio program and sold it to the station manager at KOY Radio in Phoenix. Thus began her career in radio. She hosted the show, served as an announcer, and wrote scripts for other shows and commercials. She later became the station’s continuity director, working in close proximity and frequently exchanging banter, barbs, and witticisms with a young, yet unknown announcer, Steve Allen. This young announcer, of course, later made his mark as one of America’s favorite comedians and television talk-show hosts.
Frances began her writing career at the age of eight with a poem she submitted to a Dumb Friends League publication. Born in Montpelier, Ohio, she grew up in Denver and graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Frances is survived by three children, Anita Gilbertson of Arvada and Elissa Traher and Steven Traher of Boston, MA.
1930 - 2011
A Champion of Women’s Issues
Sybil Downing, 81, a member of the Colorado Author’s League since 1980, passed away Nov. 20 in hospice care.
A dedicated reader, book collector and writer, who loved the writing process, Sybil wrote historical novels including “Fire in the Hole,” based on the Ludlow Massacre, “The Binding Oath,” dealing with the infamous Ku Klux Klan’s power play in Denver in the 1920s, a novel about women who operated a Nevada stock exchange, “Ladies of the Goldfield Stock Exchange,” “The Vote,” recounting the struggle for women to earn the right to vote, and “In Plain Sight” that deals with child labor in northern Colorado. Her book “Cattle Kate” recounts the story of a Wyoming woman who was hanged during the infamous cattle wars.
In writing “Fire in the Hole,” she once said nothing printed in the Denver Post about the Ludlow Massacre could be trusted because the Post simply reprinted the press releases from the mining company. On the other hand, The Rocky Mountain News accurately covered the strike and subsequent massacre. Sybil’s was the great-granddaughter of Thomas Patterson, owner and publisher of both the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Times.
She was justifiably proud of her lineage. Besides being a stalwart publisher, Patterson led Colorado’s Democratic Party nearly two decades, aided in Colorado’s efforts to become a state, was a territorial delegate to Congress, served as the state’s first Democratic U.S. congressman and later served as a U.S. Senator. Above all else, he was a reformer whose battles against political corruption inspired her. Sybil co-authored, with Robert E. Smith, a biography of her famous ancestor.
Additionally, she co-authored, with CAL member Jane Barker, a dozen children’s books and a young-adult novel.
"We worked well together,” Jane told the Denver Post. “But I had to have some down time every so often. She never seemed to need it. She wrote from the time she got up until it was time to fix dinner."
Born Sybil Smith in Denver on Feb. 10, 1930, she graduated from the Randall School and once told her family that she was expelled from Kent School for wearing red nail polish. She received a degree in geography from University of Colorado at Boulder. Sybil was a member and at one time president of the Boulder Valley RE-2 school board and served on the Colorado State Board of Education.
She married Mancourt “Corky” Downing in 1948. Corky passed away in 2010.
Sybil is survived by her son, Charlie Downing of Wheat Ridge, and three daughters, Ivy Downing of Denver, Wynn Gandera of Denver and Julie Valdez of Greeley; six grandchildren; and her brother, Malcolm C. Smith of Glasgow, Ky.
Details for this memoriam came from the Denver Post and Sybil Downing’s website.
Norma Evelyn Lee
1924 - 2007
CAL member Norma Evelyn Lee, of Lafayette, passed away March 28, 2007 at Boulder Community Hospital. She was 82.
She was born August 28, 1924 to John E. Hardy and Geraldine Gates Hardy in Ross County, Ohio, and grew up on a small farm near Chillicothe. She married Bruce E. Lee in Chicago, Illinois in 1948. They moved to Waterloo, Iowa in 1951 and then to Colorado in 1958, spending most of their years in the Boulder area. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Boulder.
She worked as a secretary until the birth of her first child, then became a full-time homemaker. When her children reached their teens, Norma took up free-lance writing, and later artwork, throwing herself into these activities with enthusiasm and devotion. Her children's book, Chewing Gum, illustrated by Marvin Friedman, was published in 1976 by Prentice-Hall. She described it as "a humorous nonfiction picture book." It followed the development of chewing gum from homemade chaw to commercial product starting with the use of spruce resin among the Wampanoags and chicle sap among the Osages and ending with popular uses and flavorings.
She joined the Colorado Authors' League in 1968, listing publications in Golden Magazine, National Observer, Grit, and Wee Wisdom. She later published juvenile stories and articles to such magazines as Roadrunner, Discovery, Words of Cheer, Junior Red Cross News, Light and Life Press, Ranger Rick, Child Life, and Montana Reading Clinic Publication; she once sold a joke to Catholic Digest. In 1972 she was given CAL's Top Hand Award in the category Short Non-Fiction-Juvenile for her article, "Only a Hill," which had been published September 12, 1971, in Empire, the magazine of the Sunday Denver Post. She also published the article "I Drive a Monster of Mercy" in Empire.
Norma's husband, Bruce, died in 1983; she is survived by her three children, Rhonda Lee of Alameda, California; Randall Lee of Nederland, Colorado; and Janice Whitney of Erie, Colorado, and six grandchildren; Jerusha, Nathan, Lydia and Gabriel Whitney and Amber and Cailin Lee.
A funeral service was held at the First Presbyterian Church in Boulder on April 5, 2007, with the Rev. John Hess officiating, followed by interment at Mountain View Cemetery.
CAL member Charlotte Ann Jones, well-known author of children's non-fiction books, passed away July 16, 2007 after a valiant 10-year battle against ovarian cancer. She was 61.
Born Nov. 1, 1945, Charlotte was a life-long Boulder resident, graduating from Boulder High School in 1963 and from Denver's Central Business College in 1964.
When she discovered a passion for researching information for children, Charlotte found a career ideas that would engage children. She published nine books in several languages, among them Mistakes That Worked, Accidents May Happen and Fingerprints and Talking Bones. Her most recent published book, Westward Ho! Eleven Explorers of the West, an account of 11 courageous explorers who opened the West and changed the course of North American history, won the 2006 National Cowboy Museum's Western Heritage Wrangler Award for Children's Literature. Charlotte's final book, as yet untitled, will be out later this year, is an account of animals that have held political offices throughout history.
She joined the Colorado Authors' League in December 1989.
Surviving Charlotte are her son, John Paul Jones, and her husband William C.R. Jones both of Boulder.
A memorial service was held on Friday, July 20 at Crist Mortuary in Boulder.
Jeanne L. Manning
1926 - 2007
CAL member Jeanne L. Manning died on April 18, 2007 following a short illness. Born in Kansas City, KS, Feb. 6, 1926, her family moved to Bartlesville, OK, and subsequently to Colorado Springs during World War II. Graduating from Colorado Springs High School (now Palmer) in 1943, she enrolled at Colorado College, graduating magna cum laude in 1946.
Armed with a scholarship to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Jeanne received a Master of Science degree in 1948, and began a job writing advertising and catalog copy for Montgomery Ward and Company. In 1949, she returned to Colorado Springs and worked on the staff of the Gazette-Telegraph.
In high school, she had met Thurston E. (Ted) Manning and in July 1950, they married. He was a member of the faculty at Oberlin College, and they settled at Oberlin for the next 14 years. During those years, their three children, Julia, Peter and Ellen, were born.
In 1964 the family moved to Boulder where Ted began working at the University of Colorado. Having started studying French at Oberlin, Jeanne continued studying at CU, receiving a Master of Arts degree in 1969. When Ted became President of the University of Bridgeport in 1971, the family moved to Fairfield, CT., and soon Jeanne became a doctoral student in French at Yale. She received her Ph.D. from Yale in 1981.
In 1975, the family returned to Boulder and Jeanne taught at Colorado Women's College and Loretto Heights College. In 1987 Ted accepted a position in Washington D.C., and Jeanne taught at George Washington University for a year before becoming Associate Professor of French at Northern Virginia Community College. There she pioneered distance learning techniques to work simultaneously with classes at two campuses. She also introduced the beginning course French in Action, developed at Yale and using extensive audiovisual learning aids.
Retiring from fulltime teaching in 1992, the Mannings again returned to Boulder. Jeanne continued working in distance learning, this time using the Internet to provide instruction in beginning French as part of an experimental project of the Annenberg Foundation. When the project was completed, she turned to exploring the effects of World War II on "ordinary people" through oral interviews. Networking with men and women throughout the United States and Europe, her early interviews became the foundation of her first book, A Time to Speak. She then wrote Growing Up During World War II, a book for middle school students, again based on interviews with people from widely varying backgrounds and locations in the worldwide. Her third book, Athena's Daughters, was completed shortly before her death and records the World War II experiences and later careers of a number of remarkable women.
During the last 15 years in Boulder, Jeanne served as a member and chair of the Graduate School Advisory Committee and as chair of the Advisory Board for the Center for Humanities and the Arts at CU-Boulder. She received the Alumni Recognition Award in 2001.
She is survived by her husband and their three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.