Longtime Custer County citizen Pauline June Canda (Paulie) died December 28 at the age of 94. She had been a prominent valley resident since the early 1950s. She married valley native W. Roderick Canda December 17, 1949 and raised four children.
Mrs. Canda was born in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan. She spent her childhood moving frequently through northern Illinois and Michigan as her father, Alfred Cooke, climbed the ranks of the Corn Products Company. Pauline graduated from Clarendon Hills School, Wheaton, Illinois in 1940. After a brief career in modeling, and as a switchboard operator and receptionist in the Chicago area, Pauline and her best friend Bev Briggs decided to take an out West adventure to Westcliffe, Colorado where they worked at the Historic Alpine Lodge. They both met their future husbands, who were also best friends. Bev married Pat Byrne, and Pauline married William Roderick Canda.
In 1955, the young Canda couple moved from Canon City to rural Custer County to the old family home, which they renovated and filled with children. From that location, the couple founded W. R. Canda Timber Products, the business the family held until Rod’s death in 1991.
Missing the distractions of the Midwest, Pauline started the bridge club in the late 1960s, going from house to house until she found her first table. It still meets in the community room of the East County Library Tuesday afternoons.
She was also a faithful member of the Columbine Club, which started in during World War I. As a member of the Women’s Club, she enjoyed the graduation teas for senior girls, and teaching flag etiquette each year in an assembly at Custer County school.
Mrs. Canda was very instrumental in the founding of VALI Assisted Living in Westcliffe. She began as a member of the fundraising committee, and after the death of the original founder, assumed the role of Chairman of the Board. She spent several years as a fulltime fund raiser and was instrumental in the final form the assisted living facility took, as a family-style facility where everyone is lovingly made to feel at home. She became a fulltime resident in June, 2003. After that, she remained on the board for many years.
Pauline was very fond of animals. While the family raised sheep, she was a successful foster mom to bum lambs and two orphan fawns, one of which, Hoppy, became quite famous and lived to be fourteen. She kept chickens and always had pet dogs, especially toy poodles. She was an avid reader of historical fiction and she loved to knit. Her cooking was excellent family fare. She was a dedicated Christian and a good neighbor.
Mrs. Canda is survived by four children, eleven grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. Her children are Bill Canda (Joanne), Pam Camper (Roger), Scott Canda (Mary), and Carol Wilson (David). Grandchildren are Jaye Cronin (Kevin), Will Canda (Laura), Matt Camper (Erin), Ben Canda (Amanda), Kassie Carley, Dan Canda (Chelsea), Christa Wilson, Carrie Canda, Tony Wilson (Eva), Scott Canda, Jr. (Christin), and Mark Canda (Lindsey).
Her funeral will be held at Lange Hall, Westcliffe, at 1 p.m. Saturday, January 9. Graveside services will be at Rosita Cemetery following the funeral. There will be a reception at the home of Bill Canda and Joanne following the burial.
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