Durango resident Sylvia Antoinette Pangrazi Blackburn died Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at her home of 53 years. She was 91.
Mrs. Blackburn was born Oct. 9, 1922, in Telluride to Fiore and Speranza Pangrazi.
Her parents immigrated to the United States from Austria in 1920. They brought with them the skills of gathering mushrooms, berries and an occasional snowshoe hare to aid their survival.
While as a young woman, Mrs. Blackburn worked for two summers in the boarding house of the Alta Mines before moving to Telluride. She graduated from Telluride High School and Barnes Business College in Denver – her first trip beyond Southwest Colorado – and returned to Telluride to work for an attorney and later for the Idarado Mine.
On April 10, 1949, she married Keith Blackburn in Telluride. The family lived in Telluride while he worked as an electrician for Telluride Mines and later owned Telluride Electric. They moved to Durango in 1959 because of Telluride’s failing mining economy.
Mrs. Blackburn worked as a professional secretary and office manager for Mauck and Stastney Architects for many years while raising her family.
“Her cookie jar was always full, her heart always open and her arms never empty,” according to her family. “She never uttered a cross word and always had abundant hugs for those she loved and cared for.”
Mrs. Blackburn was a devout Catholic and volunteer, serving as president of the Mercy Hospital Auxilary. In 2006, she completed 25 years of service to the organization.
An avid bridge and pinochle player, she hosted numerous gatherings in her home. She was known for her fast-paced daily six-mile walks.
Mrs. Blackburn was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Keith Blackburn.
She is survived by her sons Bob Blackburn of Durango and Fred Blackburn of Cortez; sisters Katherine Reece of Grand Junction and Ida McKnight of Montrose; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, at Saint Columba Catholic Church, 1830 East Second Ave., in Durango. After Mass, a gathering will be held in the church hall. Her ashes will be buried next to her husband Keith and in her favorite places in the mountains near Ophir and Telluride at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Hospice of Mercy, 1 Mercado St., Suite 270, Durango, CO 81301.