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Delores Zinsli - September 18, 2012

Delores Jean (Austin) Zinsli was born March 31, 1925 near Helvey, Neb. to William Albert Fisbeck and Bessie Mary Schropfer Fisbeck. She died at her home in Holyoke on Sept. 18, 2012, surrounded by loved ones.

Delores was baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Daykin, Neb. With her parents, Delores moved to Colorado in 1929 when she was 4 years old. The family resided on a farm south of Paoli during the Dust Bowl years. Delores started school at age 4 because without her, the school did not have enough students to make up a class. She remembered walking to school in a dust storm so thick that she needed to cover her mouth with a handkerchief so she could get her breath.

During Delores’ childhood, two sisters, Gwen and Betty, joined the Fisbeck family. They made their home on various homesteads in the Holyoke area. In spite of the hardships of those years, many good times were shared with cousins and other family members.

She was confirmed in the Zion Lutheran Church by Pastor Einspahr. She had been a member of the Holyoke congregation for 83 years.

Delores graduated from Phillips County High School at age 16, boarding at the Webermeier home and Posegate Hall. She graduated from Barnes Business College and worked as a secretary in the Aerial Reconnaissance Department at Lowry Air Force Base for three years. On the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, Delores recalled that she was skiing at Berthoud Pass.

On Oct. 7, 1945, Delores married Frank Austin Jr. To this union, three sons were born—Frank James (Jim), Dennis Eugene and Daniel Lynn. Delores lived for over 50 years near Ovid on the ranch homesteaded by Frank’s parents in 1899. She was proud that the ranch was recognized by the state of Colorado as a Centennial Homestead for being in the same family for over 100 years.

Delores treasured her time spent on the farm, especially in her flower and vegetable gardens. Her flower-arranging talents were showcased year after year at the county fair where she won many awards including Best of Show. Her flower arrangements also graced the altar at Zion Lutheran Church on many occasions. Vegetables from the garden found their way into her famous potato salad, homemade ketchup and pickles.

When not in her gardens, Delores could be found in the cattle barn helping Jim and Dan groom their registered Hereford cattle for shows. She had a special affinity for Missy, a prize-winning heifer who unfortunately remained barren her entire life. Because of Delores’ intervention, that small detail did not send Missy to the sale barn. At Delores’ direction, Missy’s final resting place is in the south pasture.

While proudly supporting her sons’ cattle-showing endeavors at county fairs, state fairs and the National Western Stock Show, Delores served home-cooked meals from a hotplate in the motel room or from her 12-foot camping trailer. Friends and other exhibitors were always welcome. Her interest in the cattle industry led to her involvement in the CowBelles Association and the 4-H program, where she served as a club leader for many years.

She was active in community and church organizations. Delores was a charter member of the Paragon and Farmerettes Extension clubs. She served faithfully in the Women of Zion and as a church choir director. She enjoyed delivering Meals on Wheels and making frequent visits to folks in the nursing home.

Following Frank’s major heart attack in 1974, the couple traveled annually to Aztec RV Resort in Mesa, Ariz., where Delores wintered for the next 36 years. She was able to establish many new friendships from all across the U.S. and Canada, and she loved the Arizona desert.

After Frank died in September 1995, Delores continued to winter in Arizona, where she met Jim Zinsli. They were married on Aug. 30, 1997 and enjoyed 15 years together, traveling to China, Italy, the Panama Canal, Alaska, Canada and throughout the U.S. Jaunts to the rodeos in Laughlin, Nev. and the National Finals in Las Vegas, Nev. to cheer on the bull riders were favorite trips for Delores.

Delores was preceded in death by her husband, Frank; parents; son, Dennis; sister, Betty Lea; and an infant brother and sister who were stillborn.

She is survived by her husband, Jim Zinsli of Holyoke; her sons and their wives, Jim and Mary Austin and Dan and Deb Austin; sister, Gwen Keefauver and husband Bob; stepchildren, Robert and Judy Zinsli, Linda Zurborg, Katherine and Gary Seibel, Deborah and Bruce Walker, Brian and Sayuri Zinsli and Lisa Critchfield; 19 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren. She will be dearly missed by her Zinsli brothers and sisters and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Memorial services were held Sept. 21 at Zion Lutheran Church in Holyoke. Pastor Gary Rahe officiated. Inurnment followed at the Holyoke Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be sent to any of the following: American Cancer Society in memory of Delores Zinsli, 8221 W. 20th St., Suite A, Greeley, CO 80634, or donate online at; Melissa Memorial Hospital Foundation, 1001 E. Johnson St., Holyoke, CO 80734; or Zion Lutheran Church, 240 S. High School Ave., Holyoke, CO 80734.

Gerk Funeral Homes was entrusted with the arrangements.