Frances 'Oma' Aileen Mason Heizer Tate

Former Durango resident Frances Aileen Mason Heizer Tate died Saturday, July 23, 2011, in Enid, Okla. She was 83.

Known as “Oma,” she was born to Arthur William and Marie Christy Mason on March 28, 1928, on the family farm on the Florida Mesa. She attended school in Durango, graduating from Durango High School in 1945. Mrs. Tate went on to study at Western State College at Gunnison.

On Aug. 12, 1947, she married Kenneth Edwin Heizer in Durango. The marriage later ended in divorce.

In 1966, Mrs. Tate graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. She began her teaching career in Ames, Iowa, taught in Flagstaff, Ariz., and retired in 1989 after teaching for 20 years in La Junta.

On March 24, 1995, she married Paul Tate in La Junta.

Eight years later, Mrs. Tate moved to Enid.

She was a founding member of the La Junta School Foundation and a member of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and P.E.O.

“She greatly loved her children, her grandchildren, to travel, her gardens and watching football,” her family said.

Mrs. Tate was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Tate.

She is survived by her half-brother Allen Mason of Oregon; sons Donald Duane Heizer of Payson, Ariz., and Bill Heizer of Enid; daughter Nanci Kay Kalamaya of Longmont; stepdaughters Sue Tate of Colorado Springs and Vera Tate of Pueblo; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A private funeral was held Sunday, July 24, 2011, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. The Rev. Stephen R. Samples officiated. Cremation occurred afterward.

Memorial gifts may be sent to the Four Corners Rose Society, c/o Shirley Spangsberg, 2910 Cedar Ave., Durango, CO 81301.

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