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Madeline (Bass) Framson


1922 - 2016 Obituary
Madeline (Bass) Framson Obituary
On Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, Madeline Bass Framson passed away peacefully in the mountains she loved and refused to leave. Madeline lived in Prospect Park Living Center in Estes Park, Colorado since February of this year. Since 1979, Estes Park has been her home. Madeline was born in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 24, 1922, the fourth daughter of Isadore and Fanny Bass. Four brothers were to follow making eight children, all who went on to live distinguished and rewarding lives. The Bass family added much to the flourishing Jewish community in Houston.
At the age of 21, Private Madeline Bass landed in Normandy, D-Day+38 as part of the Women's Army Core (WAC) assigned to the elite "Forward Echelon," European Theatre of Operations, in the Allied effort to liberate Europe from German occupation. She was one of a limited number of WACs trained in the use of side arms and prepared for gas attacks. After the liberation of Paris, she marched with troops around the Arc de Triomphe. She was part of the "Greatest Generation."
After the war, she married Robert Framson in 1946, and with him raised three wonderful children: Michelle, Michael and Paul. While living in Houston, Madeline's sense of social justice called her to political activism that included speaking out against McCarthyism and racial prejudice. She championed the cause for civil rights. She opposed the draft and participated in the 1969 anti-Vietnam War march on Washington. Various conservation and environmental issues in Texas also ignited her passions and desire to make a difference.
The seeds were planted of someday moving to Colorado from visits when Madeline was a child and family vacations with her husband and children to Estes Park. With their children grown, Robert and Madeline moved to Estes Park in 1979 and were now able to call Colorado their home in heart, spirit and permanent presence.
In 1980 Madeline joined the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) and was instrumental in establishing the Shining Mountains Group (SMG) which encompasses Estes Park and surrounding towns. As the matriarch of the group for many years, Madeline developed a strong relationship with Rocky Mountain National Park and the CMC and in no small measure a long list of volunteer efforts in the park were completed because of Madeline's effort to encourage and recruit volunteers. Madeline was the epitome of a grassroots volunteer. With no computer and no email, she used word of mouth, telephone and a typewriter to promote activities through press releases, flyers and newsletters. She was knowledgeable about the environment and devoted to providing hands-on venues for public service and education.
Volunteer projects included: trail maintenance, fire prevention through fuel reduction, fighting invasive weeds, assistance with maintaining the health of bighorn sheep herds, multiple collections of barbed wire from old homesteads, revegetation along Trail Ridge Road, carrying out automobile wreckage from below Trail Ridge through Forest Canyon, natural landscape restoration of the Hidden Valley ski area, trimming bushes and trees along Fern Lake Road and assisting with the Ride the Rockies bicycle tour. The volunteer efforts of the Shining Mountains Group required skill, dedication and physical endurance for many tasks that were often grimy and unglamorous, but needed to be done.
In 1994 the SMG earned the Rocky Mountain National Park Stewardship Award presented by Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt to Madeline on behalf of the SMG. Madeline logged over 7,000 volunteer hours for the RMNP. Over the years Madeline received numerous awards including The Presidents Call to Service Award in 2005, "In recognition and appreciation of your commitment to strengthening our Nation and for making a difference through volunteer service." In 2007 she was recognized by the CMC for many years of steadfast leadership and presented the Carl Blaurock Silver Piton Award.
In 2004, Madeline was flown to Washington, DC to receive on behalf of the Shining Mountains Group the George P. Herzog award for outstanding volunteer service. The Shining Mountains Group of the Colorado Mountain Club was the recipient of this most prestigious regional and national award for "Outstanding Volunteer Group Service."
While at the helm of the SMG, she planned and organized thousands of hikes in and around RMNP. She climbed all but four of Colorado's 14er's after age 61. She was a walking archive of information on flora and fauna, geology and RMNP history. For many years the Estes Park Trail-Gazette gave Madeline a weekly opportunity to express her love, passion and creative writing for all things outdoor. She wrote hundreds of articles describing such things as the splendor of a hike to Gem Lake, Ouzel Falls, or the skills, prerequisites and waiting vistas for those ready for an ascent of Longs Peak. Somewhere in all this activity, she found time to perform in a local theatrical production of "Hello Dolly" playing the role of Dolly in the mid to late 1980's.
Her husband, daughter Michelle and son Paul preceded her in death, as well as her parents, three sisters and a brother. Madeline is survived by three brothers and their families, her son Michael, five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. What she leaves for us is a legacy of an incredible life well-lived.
Her brother Hymie said, "She lived a big, full, heroic life. She was a force of nature, spectacular, sometimes difficult, bigger than life."
Her grandson Matt said, "She had single-minded dedication to environmental conservation and her unstinting devotion to the protection and cleanup of Rocky Mountain National Park was beyond compare."
Her nephew Noah remarked, "Madeline is now relaxing gloriously and much deservedly in that happiest of National Parks in the sky," now with even higher mountains to climb.
If Madeline were writing this obituary she would certainly not miss this opportunity to recruit and encourage you to grab a pair of work gloves and volunteer to do something. You'll be rewarded with the satisfaction that you can make a difference.
That's Madeline.
A Celebration of Life for Madeline will be Saturday, Oct. 29, 1 PM to 3 PM at the Rocky Mountain Conservancy Field Institute, 1895 Fall River Road, Estes Park, CO. Please bring a dessert or fruit to share.
Published in Estes Park Trail-Gazette on Oct. 21, 2016
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