Farm Animals 19

Helen Marie (Chess) Shoemaker

August 31, 1924 ~ April 22, 2020 (age 95)


Helen (Chess) Shoemaker – August 31, 1924 – April 22, 2020

Helen Marie (Chess) Shoemaker, 95, passed away peacefully in her home on April 22, 2020.  Helen was born to Clyde and Irene Chess on August 31, 1924 and lived her entire life on the family ranch.   She married Robert N. Shoemaker on February 5, 1947; they had four children.  She has always been a rancher, conservationist and community advocate.  She was straight forward while being gracious and encouraging.  She was a role model to all who knew her and inspired all to a legacy of hard work, thankfulness, caring and good humor.

Helen served the ranching and farming community with passion.  She was a charter member of the Fremont County CattleWomen which began in 1953.  She held numerous offices including President in 1960 and 1981.  She was active at the state and national level serving as Colorado CattleWomen President in 1973, and the Secretary of American National CattleWomen in 1982.  She continued to be active at the local and state level and was honored as a Lifetime Member by Fremont County CattleWomen in 2011.

 Helen was appointed by Governor Roy Romer to the Colorado Beef Council in June 1981.  She was the only woman appointed.  She served in several leadership roles including Chairman of the Board from 1989-1993. She also served on the International Beef Federation.

Another of Helen’s proudest contributions was to be selected to the initial founding advisory board committee for Pueblo Community College in Canon City. This group worked to establish the permanent campus of PCC.  A strong advocate for education, Helen was herself an accomplished speaker and writer.  She also served as a member of the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee. In 2013, she and Bob were inducted into the PCC Hall of Fame.

Helen loved her family and supported her husband, children, and grandchildren unconditionally.  She campaigned for Bob when he was a State Legislator and kept the family ranch running when he was gone to Denver.   She was a room mother during the elementary school years, attended every school sport and activity function and never missed a 4-H fair or other 4-H activities.  Previously in 1973, Helen had been named and awarded Friend of 4-H.  The family support for the 4-H program was so large that they were named 4-H family of the year in 1978. 

Helen is survived by her four children, Wayne (Sonja) Shoemaker, Janice (Jerry) Zeiler, Joan Shoemaker (Robert Taylor) and Kathleen Shoemaker (Bruce Bowman), nine grandchildren, nineteen great grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents and her husband Robert.  

A Memorial Service will be announced for a later date.  In lieu of flowers, make donations to the Fremont County CattleWomen or Pueblo Community College in Canon City. 

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