Former Durango resident Ellen Louise Glaser died Friday, June 1, 2012, in Colorado Springs. She was 101.
The youngest of four children, Mrs. Glaser was born April 17, 1911, in Enid, Okla. to Bessie (Merrick) and Edward Remington Champlin. She grew up in Kansas, where her family moved when she was 3.
Mrs. Glaser enjoyed competing in sports throughout her life, her family said. In her 20s and 30s, she played on a semi-professional baseball team and was on an amateur basketball team that competed against Babe Didrikson Zaharias. She also bowled in Wichita, Kan., and in the Durango Women’s Bowling League.
Mrs. Glaser married Gilbert (Bill) Friesen in Carson City, Nev., in the mid-1940s. The couple lived in San Francisco for a short time, and the marriage later ended in divorce.
In 1947, Mrs. Glaser moved to Durango to work at Farmers and Bankers Insurance. She met her second husband, Leonard Glaser, on her first day in town, and the couple were married a year later in Durango.
Mrs. Glaser worked for B. Glaser & Son Insurance and Real Estate, and she and Mr. Glaser co-owned Royal Liquors in Durango, which later became Wagon Wheel Liquors. The couple also owned General Store Antiques and Glaser Accounting.
Mrs. Glaser worked as a caseworker at the San Juan Basin Health Department for 22 years until retiring in her 80s.
Mr. Glaser died in 1985, and in 2011, Mrs. Glaser moved to a Colorado Springs nursing home to be close to her niece, Judy Bell.
She maintained close relationships with many friends and family members throughout the years, and when she was 95, she adopted one of her most beloved companions, a miniature Schnauzer named Willie, who continued to visit Mrs. Glaser until her death, her family said.
“Ellen’s life was a model of self-reliance and optimism,” her family said. “She was unfailingly polite and uncomplaining her entire life, even when age had diminished her senses and physical strength.“
“Her friends were of prime importance to her and she to them,” they said. “At her 96th birthday party, more than 20 friends were in attendance. Her neighbors, friend Maxine Headrick and caregivers Megan Duncan and Pat Gonzales provided the assistance that allowed her to live in her Durango home until age 100.”
Mrs. Glaser was preceded in death by her husband of 37 years, Leonard Glaser.
She is survived by her nieces Judy Bell of Colorado Springs and Joyce Francis of Pensacola, Fla.; nephew, Fred Bell of Wichita, Kan.; as well as numerous great- and great-great-nieces and nephews.
Plans for a memorial service in Durango with interment at Greenmount Cemetery are pending. Memorial gifts may be made to the La Plata County Humane Society, 1111 South Camino del Rio, Durango, CO 81301.