The Lyons Redstone Museum honored the two graduates of the class of 2017 during the Good Old Days celebration for being from pioneer families who have lived in the area at least fifty years. They were Ever Johan Ortiz-Valdez and Aaron Abraham Vasquez.
Ever is the son of Angel Ortiz-Zaragoza and Rachelle Gilson; the great grandson of Ruth Gilson; grandson of Cindy Colard and Cliff Gilson; and great grandson of Leon and Mary Colard, old-timers in the Lyons area.
Honor and Eleanor Colard moved from Illinois to the Eastern Colorado Plains near Limon in 1905. One of their three children was Arthur. He married Anna Hag in 1908, and homesteaded in the Spring Gulch area northwest of Lyons in 1918. His purchases of land in Spring Gulch through the years amounted to nearly 3000 acres of ranch land. Here, they raised their family of ten children: Eleanor, Clair, Leonard, Vern, Donald, Thelma, Raymond, Roy, Gerald, and Leon, who was the youngest, and father of Ever’s grandmother Cindy.
Some of their family still live on the Colard place, which was subdivided in 1993, into fifteen acre lots where more than three hundred families call home in Spring Gulch. They are in Larimer County, but in 1967 the folks of that area voted to attend the Lyons School.
Rex (dec'd) and Ruth Gilson moved to Lyons in the 1950s from Nebraska, and bought property on Park Avenue, which was severely flooded during the September, 2013 flood. The home was a buy-out property and has been torn down; now only a grassy lot that belongs to the Town and can never be built on, as it is in the floodplain. Their children are Cliff, Lana, and Carrie. They have five grandchildren, with both Ever graduating from Lyons High School and granddaughter Shaylee Pierick graduating from Berthoud High School the same Saturday morning, May 27, 2017.
Ever has been a good student. He received a varsity Letter in wrestling for three years and in football for two years. He took care of evacuated animals during the flood, and has done ride-alongs with the police department. He will be attending the Colorado State Patrol Youth Academy, and wants to become a park ranger when he finishes the CSP Youth Academy. His siblings are Raeana and Anthony.
We congratulate Ever for graduating from Lyons High, and declare him a member of a Lyons Pioneer family.
Aaron is the grandson of Isabelle, who came to Longmont in 1954 to visit her sister. She met and soon married the young man next door, Manuel Vasquez. His father, Santos, had moved to Greeley in 1947, from Brownsville, Texas. Manuel came to Colorado in 1953, and while staying on a farm in Mead, he was told to go to Lyons and work in the quarries. The next day he got work at the Jacob & Evans Stone Company, which was located on what is now Sandstone Park. They quarried at Beech Hill, and stayed in a little cabin at the Ohline Quarries. They wintered in Texas and returned the next summer to the Lyons quarries. They were paid by the ton, so the harder they worked the more money they made. Thus was the beginning of the Blue Mountain Stone Company with the Vasquez brothers as well as the Garrita Stone Company.
Isabelle used to give Mexican cooking classes, and is retired from Andrea’s Café where she cooked for seventeen years. She lived in the old motel building east of Lyons, which was swept away by the September Flood. She relocated to Longmont for a while, and now lives in one of the Phillips Stone Company houses Blue Mountain Stone has recently purchased. Isabelle and Manuel had ten children: Ramon who is married to Carmen, and is Aaron’s father, Jesus, Raul, Steve, Abraham, Vincent, Omar, Anita, Linda, Marizza, and Gasper who died of cancer in 1997 at the age of 35, and was married to Rene Munn and had two girls. All the Vasquez children attended Lyons schools.
In 1970 Manuel purchased his own quarry from Charley Waters. When his son, Raul was seventeen he went to work for his father and called the business Blue Mountain Stone. It is now one of the largest quarries in the area. They bought the Ohline Quarry in the late 1990s. Many of the Vasquez family work at Blue Mountain Stone and other area quarries.
Ramon graduated from Lyons High School in 1975, and was on the 1974 Lyons State Championship Football Team, setting a good example for Aaron in sports. Aaron has excelled in football, track, and wrestling, and was captain of football and wrestling teams. He played the baritone sax in the high school concert and marching bands all four years, and earned many awards and letters in football, track and wrestling. He placed in several track meets and was a state qualifier in wrestling in 2017.
Aaron volunteered with the Lyons Lions Leo Club and has excellent work ethics. He is of good character so despite his family’s own setbacks, losing their home in the flood and his father’s health, he likes to give back to his community as a volunteer or employee working hard to earn money for the future. Aaron plans to go to college to be a history or physical ed teacher, and will attend Front Range Community College for a year and then go on to a four-year college so he can play football or wrestle. He says these sports have taught him to never give up and keep pushing through the rough times to overcome the impossible and have the heart to do so. Congratulations to Aaron a member of a Lyons Pioneer family.
Other members of pioneers families present for the ceremony were LaVern Johnson, Jerry, Ron and Cindy Johnson, and Terri Weir, all of the Reese/McConnell families who homesteaded the farm now Lyons Valley Park, Lyons Estates, and Stone Canyon in 1862, and sold for development in 1962.
Peggy Brodie (daughter of Thomas), whose father John Brodie was superintendent of the Hugh Murphy Quarry operation in Lyons, and bought the quarries in 1893 and Mary (Lowe) Brodie, whose father was the town blacksmith and mayor, sister to Virginia Davies, Frances Brackett, John Tomas and Bill and Frances Brackett, grandson of Levi (1850) and Permelia Weese and son of Frank (born in 1886-1972) and Floss Hirschfeld (1988-1977). Georgina Ohline Minto, daughter of Arthur E. Ohline, Jr. (Curley) and June Dickinson, daughter of Floyd (1894-1977) and Deulah Dickinson (1896-1993) who moved to Lyons in 1930 from Cozad, Nebraksa. He was ditch rider for the Lyons Ditch Co. #1 and town marshal for many years. Maxine Ohline Harkalis, an aunt and Rhonda (Harkalis) French of the Ohline/Hugh Brown. Floyd and Deulah Dickinson. Aaron Vasquez his mother Carmen, and brother Alex, and uncle, Jesse.