Willmette Lillian (Phillipson) Sniff – April 17, 1932 – August 15, 2022


Willmette Lillian (Phillipson) Sniff, 90, passed away peacefully August 15, 2022, surrounded by her family. “Willy” was born April 17, 1932, to Phillip William Phillipson and Lilly Edith Christina Nelson. She shared her loving home at 665 Cherry Street, Denver, with her parents, sister, Carol, and brother, Don. Her childhood was filled with Swedish traditions and happy times with extended family. Upon graduating from East High School in 1950, she enrolled at Colorado A&M (Colorado State University), where she joined the Delta Delta Delta sorority. It was during this time, she met Dan Sniff, a fellow student and future husband, in an animal husbandry class that she chose as a lark.

Willy and Dan were married October 31, 1953, when they eloped to Raton, New Mexico. Once Dan finished his degree, and after a stint in the Army, they embarked on an adventure to build a family and a ranch in southeastern Colorado around Lamar. In four years, their family grew to include Tom, Vicki and Larry. In addition to building the ranch, they built the Stagecoach Motel and other business ventures. Willy and Dan lived life large and to the fullest, packed with family, friends, and travel. They were the hostess and host of the world. Their frequent travels covered the globe, with New Zealand and the fjords of Norway being some of their favorites. They even took their kids and grandkids to Hawaii, Jamaica and Mexico to spend Thanksgiving week together in a tropical paradise. After 25 years in Lamar, they moved on from ranching due to blizzard, hail and drought. They relocated to Fort Collins to be closer to family. In the late 80’s, they moved to Scottsdale, AZ, to be near Vicki and enjoy warmer temperatures. Willy loved being in the sunshine and swimming pool. It was here she lived until her death.

Willy was an amazing mother, with love, patience and kindness beyond measure. She found boundless joy in being a grandmother. “Nanny” showed her love in countless ways. She laughed easily and often with her funny sense of humor. She always looked at life through rose- colored glasses and was always up for fun and creativity. Willy was born with a gift of playing the piano by ear, as well as an artistic gift of painting. Her red lipstick, jewelry, glamour and sense of style will never be forgotten.

She is survived by her husband, Dan, daughter, Vicki Pearson, and sons, Larry (Kathleen) and Tom, and brother, Don (Barbara). Grandchildren include Presley Pearson, Sheridan (Matt) Leahy, Layne (Ben) Wahlberg, Kira (Craig) Meyer, Amber Sniff (Jim) Heffernan, Hunter Sniff, and Natisha Moulder, and great grandchildren, Rowan and Mila Heffernan, and Astrid Meyer. She is preceded in death by her parents, Lilly and Bill Phillipson, sister, Carol, son-in-law Tom Pearson, and grandson, Shiloh Sniff. She was loved by everyone who knew her and will be deeply missed.



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