Halka Chronic

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    - Marylka Pattison
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Halka Chronic Febrauary 26, 1923– April 16, 2013 Halka Chronic of Grand Junction, Colorado passed away peacefully on April 16, 2013, surrounded by her family. She was born Helena Bainbridge Pattison on February 26, 1923 to Sidney F. and Marylka Modjeska Pattison in Tucson, Arizona on a day when the daffodils bloomed. She attended the University of Arizona, Stanford University, and then received her Ph.D. in Geology, focusing on the fossils of Walnut Canyon, Arizona, from Columbia University in 1949. In 1948 she married John Chronic. For the majority of their marriage they resided in Boulder, Colorado where they raised four daughters. In 1985, Halka moved to Sedona, Arizona where she indulged her passion for the red rocks. In 2006 she returned to Colorado to be nearer her family. Halka spent childhood summers in Corona del Mar, California with her artist mother and her brother, Karl. Twice, Halka and her mother drove cross-country to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. These happy times were the basis for her passion for travel and sailing, and the development of her skill as a watercolor painter. With their home base in Boulder, she and her husband John also traveled, spending a year at a time in Scotland, Ethiopia, Australia, and Puerto Rico. After she and John separated she continued traveling, going to Mexico, Norway, Poland, China, and Latin America, and driving the Alaska Highway four times. Her adventurous spirit had a strong impact on her career. Her summer work with geologist Edwin McKee in the Grand Canyon during the 1940s built the foundation for her future in geology. In Ethiopia, Halka taught at Haile Selassie University, and when they returned, she worked for eight years as a writer-editor at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder. When they took their family to Sydney, Australia, she began writing geology books. She also worked as a scientific editor for the Geological Society of America. In her beloved motor home she traveled independently throughout the West to write the Roadside Geology books for Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona; and three Pages of Stone books about the geology of the western national parks and monuments. For "notable journalistic achievement in communications contributing to public understanding of geology", she received the Geosciences in the Media Award in 2004 from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Halka's strength of character, independence, and sense of humor contributed to her incredibly creative life. In addition to being a scientist, she was an artist and craftsperson. She painted beautiful watercolors, was a skilled weaver, ceramicist, needleworker, and pianist. She taught her children and grandchildren and their friends continually, expanding their horizons into natural history, travel, music, art, and many other topics. She was also very involved with hospitality for international students in Boulder. She gave great parties. Above all she was a naturalist and a fiercely self-sufficient outdoorswoman who can best be imagined walking the rocky arroyos of Sedona, sailing in the Virgin Islands, painting while sitting on a rock, or rafting the Grand Canyon. Halka is survived by her four daughters, Emily Silver (Kevin); Felicie Williams (Mike); Lucy Chronic (Chris Hinze), and Betsy Greslin (Jim); her six grandchildren, Lindsay and Dylan Silver; Amber and Wes Williams, and Betsy and Haley Hinze; her sister-in-law, Frances Pattison, and brother-in-law, William Chronic, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents; her ex-husband, John and his parents; her brother, Karl Pattison, and her son-in-law, Michael Williams. In her memory, those who wish to may make a contribution may to do so to the National Parks Conservation Association, http://www.npca.org/. A celebration of her life is pending in Sedona, Arizona. For details, contact Felicie Williams at [email protected] Services were entrusted to Palisade Funeral Home.
Published in The Daily Sentinel on Apr. 23, 2013