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Wilma Gribben - November 29, 2013


Wilma Jean Gribben was born Jan. 18, 1937, in Denver, the first child of James and Lois (Cook) Stevens. She died Nov. 29, 2013, in Sterling.

She was the oldest of six siblings, growing up in a modest home and helping her parents keep her younger brothers in line. She went to school at Barnum Elementary and West High School in Denver.

At the age of 18, Wilma went off to college at Adams State College in Alamosa, where she eventually met her future husband, Jim Gribben. Wilma and Jim were married on Aug. 18, 1956, at her parents’ home in Denver. After the wedding, the young couple returned to Alamosa for one year, then lived in Lamar to continue their advanced degrees. Wilma received an associate degree in education from Lamar Junior College in 1957.

Shortly thereafter, the couple moved back to Alamosa so Jim could finish his education, and they had their first child, Terry, in December 1957. After Jim completed his education, their first home was in Hoehne, where Jim began his long career in teaching and coaching and Wilma began her career as a stay-at-home mother. The couple welcomed their second child, Sharon, in April 1959.

They moved to a new job in LaVeta, and the couple saw the birth of two more children, Tim in August 1960 and Kathy in November 1961. The growing family spent four years in LaVeta, then moved to Fleming for a better job opportunity. While in Fleming, a fifth child, Danny, was born, but Danny did not survive his premature birth.

Wilma, Jim and family spent four good years in Fleming and one brief year in Craig before moving to Otis for two years. The family finally settled on the nice community of Holyoke as their long-time home.

In Holyoke, Wilma continued her full-time job of mother and in 1975 took on employment at NAPA Auto Parts as a sales clerk. She eventually changed jobs to the elevators at Jack’s Bean in Holyoke and worked there until the grandchildren started to amass.

She enjoyed her hobbies of bowling, knitting, reading and gardening. She was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church, where she was also a member of the Altar and Rosary Society.

She spent her years of retirement doting on and bragging about her grandchildren. She was lucky enough this past year to be able to visit with her new great-grandchild, Dallas Sherman, when he and his parents Kurstin (granddaughter) and Ben visited from their home in Hawaii.

The onset of diabetes and complications from back surgery in 2003 would slow Wilma down slightly. She continued to enjoy her life as she spent her golden years with husband Jim and further spoiling her grandchildren. Surviving a heart attack in 2010, Wilma fought back to recovery.

More hospitalization in recent months had Wilma fighting with heart problems, gallbladder issues and kidney failure. She spent recent months recovering in the Sterling Living Center, where she went through dialysis three times a week.

Almost daily visits from her husband Jim and many family members and friends helped her through her days as she seemed to be on her way to a healthy recovery. She died quietly and unexpectedly on the evening of Nov. 29, 2013, at the Sterling Living Center.

Wilma was a devoted wife, dedicated mother and doting grandmother/great-grandmother. She filled the world with kindness and love throughout her life. She was a very caring and selfless person that was dearly loved by her family and numerous friends. She will be deeply missed.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Louis and Georgie Cook; parents, James and Lois (Cook) Stevens; brothers, John Stevens and James “Red” Stevens; and sons, Danny and Tim Gribben.

She is survived by her husband, Jim Gribben; son, Terry Gribben and wife Kathryn of Bellevue, Neb.; daughters, Sharon Bernard and husband Larry of Amherst and Kathy Mays of Honolulu, Hawaii; grandchildren, Sean Gribben and wife Kristie of Charleston, S.C., Paul Gribben of Omaha, Neb., Kurstin and husband Ben Sherman of Honolulu, Mike Mays of Spearfish, S.D., Alex Gribben of Colorado School of Mines, Preston Gribben of Burlington, Jordan Bernard of Holyoke and Jamie Stein of Holyoke; great-grandchild, Dallas Sherman of Honolulu; brothers, Bob and wife Jean Stevens of Denver and Herb and wife Louise Stevens of Grand Junction; sister, Jerri Stevens of Fort Collins; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

Visitation was scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 5 from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. at Gerk Funeral Home in Holyoke.

The rosary was scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at Gerk Funeral Home.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Holyoke with Father William Jungmann officiating. Interment will follow at the Holyoke Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association.

Gerk Funeral Homes is entrusted with the arrangements.