Kathleen Tomlin – September 6, 1949 – July 21, 2023

Mass of Christian Burial for Kathleen Tomlin will be held at 9:00 a.m. and Rosary at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2023 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Las Animas, Colorado.  Interment will follow at the Smith Ranch Peaceful Valley Cemetery.  In honor of Kathleen, the family asks that those attending services wear their Denver Broncos attire or red, white and blue. Due to limited seating and shade at the graveside services, please bring a chair and an umbrella.

Kathleen Tomlin, 73, passed away and joined her heavenly family on July 21, 2023. She was born in Las Animas, Colorado, on September 6, 1949, to Mahlon and Ann Smith of Hasty and was the third of 16 children. She grew up on a cattle ranch southeast of Las Animas. The ranch, now the Smith Centennial Ranch, has been in the family for over 100 years and four generations, and she will be laid to rest there at Peaceful Valley Cemetery.

Kathleen had a wonderful childhood; she worked hard and played hard. From first through eighth grade, she attended Woodrow School, which was four miles west of the family’s ranch house. When she was in eighth grade, the remaining country schools were consolidated to Las Animas, and she attended Columbian School, riding a bus for an hour to get there. She was terrified, but many city and country kids made her feel welcome, and she found a solid place in the community which would last her lifetime.

During high school, she worked in the basement of the Bent County Courthouse for the Superintendent of Schools. After graduating from Las Animas High School, she attended Central Business School in Denver, finishing first in her class before landing her first “real” job, working as Executive Secretary to the Director of the Edwin A. Bemis Public Library in Littleton. She worked there for four years until her brothers talked her into going on wheat and corn harvest as a truck and combine driver. She had a great time, and one year their “all-girl” crew (except for two brothers) attracted a lot of attention wherever they traveled–from the Oklahoma Panhandle to Chugwater, Wyoming. Eventually, her grandfather, George asked her to come back and help on the family ranch; this decision led her to meet her husband, Harold. The two were married the following year on September 1, 1973. By then she was working at the employment office in La Junta and was recruited to work in the director’s office at Fort Lyon. Tired of the commute to La Junta, she gladly accepted the job.

Kathleen and Harold were blessed with three daughters-Alice, Rebecca, and Jessica. She worked for the Veterans Administration for 33 years, beginning at Fort Lyon and working her way up to Administrative Officer at the Pueblo facility. She retired in 2005 when it became apparent that Harold’s health was failing. Unable to sit still for long, she worked for five more years at the Bent County Healthcare Center in social services and thoroughly enjoyed helping the residents and families. Harold had contracted a rare liver disease when he was 29 years old and ended up having a liver transplant in 2011, and that is when she “RE-retired” and enjoyed life even more.

Kathleen always enjoyed serving the community and helped with the Post Prom Party for 19 years, ensuring that the kids were safe after the prom. Because of her work with this event, she won the National GEICO Public Service Award in 1996 and was awarded with a trip to Washington D.C. for her public service, and the trip was one of the highlights of her life. She took her daughter Jessica and her mom and had a grand time when they rolled out the red carpet-V.I.P. tours. Fantastic. She enjoyed volunteering for the Bent County Historical Society, the VFW Auxiliary, Woman’s Civic Club, and the Catholic church. Any day of the week, she could be seen running to her next activity or event, and her planner was always full of community service work, family time, and travel with those she loved. She was also known as the family historian and had a passion for local history, which can be seen from her work at the John W. Rawlings Heritage Center and in countless family biographies.

Kathleen is survived by her daughters, Alice (Marcela Priale); Rebecca (Marzel Estes), and Jessica (Michael Meehan); grandson, Hunter Fae Tomlin; and granddaughters, Emy and Mili Meehan. She is also survived by brothers and sisters, Mike (Lois) Smith; Carol (Ken) McEndree; John (Carolyn) Smith; Richard (Zita) Smith; Barbara (Miles) Martin; Mark (Lisa) Smith; Margaret (David) Johnson; Jeff (Tamara) Smith; Susan (Brad) McKinney; Janelle (Lewis) Nickell; Mary Beauchamp; Nancy York; Karen Smith; Joanna (Pat) Schupbach; and Amy (Jay) Lemons. Kathleen also leaves behind Harold’s family: brother-in-law, Leldon (Carol) Tomlin; sisters-in-law, Vickie (Neil) Briggs; LaVonne Garrison; Susan (Jerry) Miller; Vivid Tomlin; and Brenda Whattler; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and other extended family.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold; parents, Mahlon and Ann Smith; father- and mother-in-law, Fae and Olive Tomlin; sisters-in-law, Shirley Copeland and Patricia Tomlin; and her precious grandson, Roland Tomlin.

Memorial contributions may be made to Donor Alliance or John W. Rawlings Heritage Center in care of Horber Funeral Chapel, P.O. Box 431, Las Animas, Colorado 81054.  To leave online condolences please visit www.valleyfuneralcremation.com.

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