Helen Spence February 14, 1948 – September 8, 2013 Miss Helen Marie Spence, age 65, passed away on Sunday, September 8, 2013, at her home in Collbran, CO after a brief illness. Helen was born February 14, 1948, in McKinley County, New Mexico, and is preceded in death by her parents, Vernon and Helen (Spain) Spence. She grew up near Grand Junction, CO and graduated from Central High School. She attended college in Pueblo, CO where she earned her degree in Elementary Education. Helen came to the Plateau Valley in 1969. She became a member of the Harvey and Anis Kelley family of Collbran, CO while student teaching at Plateau Valley School. She taught junior high for one year and then found her niche teaching third grade. She happily taught the children of Plateau Valley for 35 years, and had a profound influence on many young lives. Helen was also a member of the Plateau Valley Fire Department as a Fire-fighter/EMT. She earned her EMT-I certification and instructed numerous courses in emergency medicine. She worked many summers for the U.S. Forest Service in the Grand Mesa Visitor Center. After she retired from teaching, Helen worked for ten years as the Volunteer Coordinator/Park Naturalist at Vega State Park. She became a member of the Board of the Plateau Valley Hospital District in 1994, and was elected president of the board in 2004, serving in that capacity until her death. Throughout her many years of service to the community, Helen received countless awards and honors. On September 20, 2013, she will posthumously receive a prestigious award from the Colorado Special District's Association, as the 2013 Board Member of the Year. Helen will be deeply missed by her friends and colleagues, whose lives she touched in many ways. She leaves behind numerous beloved pets that will also miss her. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at the Plateau Valley School auditorium on Sunday, September 29, 2013, at 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to HopeWest and Hospice at 3090B N. 12th St., Grand Junction, CO 81506 and/or Roice-Hurst Humane Society at P.O. Box 4040 Grand Junction, CO 81502.
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Published in The Daily Sentinel on Sept. 12, 2013