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Mary Martha (Lago) Lankford

Oct 31, 1906-April 18, 2009

Mary Martha Lankford, of Estes Park CO, died of natural causes at the Prospect Park Nursing Home in Estes Park on Saturday, April 18th, 2009. She was 102.

Mary was a longtime resident of Goldfield, Fort Collins, Longmont, Denver and Arvada CO. Most recently, she resided at the Prospect Park Nursing Home in Estes Park, CO.

She was born, Mary Martha Lago, October 31, 1906, in the gold mining community of Goldfield, CO, just outside of Cripple Creek, CO, to Harry Walton Lago, Sr. and Maude Annus Poage Lago. Harry, Sr. was a mineshaft elevator foreman who also operated a small dairy and ranch near Goldfield.

At the age of twelve, when a tragic fire destroyed their home, Mary and her family moved north to Fort Collins, CO, where her elder siblings were already enrolled at Colorado A&M College. Mary graduated Fort Collins High School in 1924 or 1925. After High School, she was trained as a teacher at the Colorado State Teachers College at Greeley, CO. Mary held a Colorado Life Time Teaching Certificate. She taught in a one room school in Briggsdale, CO, during 1924-5. Mary taught elementary school from 1924 to 1971 in, successively, Briggsdale, CO, Fort Collins, CO, Denver, CO and Westminster, CO. She loved to teach first grade and was very proud of her skills.

Mary married William Oliver Lankford in 1927 in Fort Collins. William was a celebrated athlete during high school and college, who, after a short pro baseball career in Chicago, returned, married and became a high school and college coach. In 1935, Mary and family moved north to Nebraska where William became a field advisor for the Great Western Sugar Co. until his death Mary and William successively moved to Fort Collins and then settled in Longmont. William died in 1943 in Longmont, CO.

During World War II, Mary drove vehicles for The US Army Air Corps at Lowry Army Air Corps. Base, Denver, CO. Following World War II, she returned to teaching in the Denver area. By taking evening and summer classes, Mary graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Education from the University of Denver in 1953.

Mary was a retired teacher in the Westminster, CO, School System. She was a member of the Longmont, CO, Eastern Star, during the early 1940s; the Golden, CO, Daughters of the American Revolution, from the 1980s; and the Arvada Senior Center, during the 1980s and 90s.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband, William Oliver Lankford, her father, mother, her two brothers, Louis H. Lago, of Littleton, CO, and Harry W. Lago, of West Sacramento, CA, her four sisters, Louise Jensen, of Fort Collins, CO, Virginia Swinsco, of Boulder and Estes Park, CO, Margaret Lago, who died as a child, and Georgia Icardi of Berkley, CA and one grandson, Kurt Lankford of Boulder, CO.

She is survived by her two sons, Duane G. Lankford of Estes Park, CO, and Larry G. Lankford, of Boulder, CO, six grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. All but six of her descendants continue to live in Colorado.

An informal family memorial service will be held later in Goldfield, CO. See to see Mary’s on-line obituary and send a message to the family.

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