Alma Lois (Ellis) Sheff, age 85, died on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at her home in Colorado Springs. She was a retired librarian.
Mrs. Sheff was born in Lakewood, Colorado on January 29, 1927 to Burnett Otto and Nellie May (Kruse) Ellis. Both are deceased. Two brothers, Paul I. Ellis and Roger Y. Ellis and two sisters, Helena (Ellis) Stiles and Aura (Ellis) Mitchell predeceased Mrs. Sheff. Survivors are two nephews, Elliott Stiles of Texas, and Wayne Ellis of Alaska; and three nieces, Tamia (Mitchell) Duggan of Seattle, Lorrie (Ellis) Gray of Kelseyville, California, and Kerry Ellis of San Francisco. Numerous cousins and grand nieces and grand nephews also survive.
Alma Ellis was baptized in the Mancos, Colorado Methodist Church in 1940. She was married to George Richard Sheff on July 15, 1950 in the Community Church of Gunnison, Colorado.
Alma attended public schools at Arriola and Mancos, both in Montezuma County, Colorado. She graduated as Salutatorian from Mancos High in 1945. She received a Bachelors degree from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado and earned both a diploma in Library Science (1949) and a Masters degree (1969) from the University of Denver School of Librarianship. She spent one summer at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California at a special course for YM and YMCA members.
Her career in library work began with student positions in the Western State Library, followed by advanced classes at DU. Professional work began at the Morehead, Kentucky, State College Training School. Half time Assistant Librarian at Friends University came after her marriage. Six years as a Patients’ Librarian at the Veterans Hospital in Kerrville, Texas followed. In 1959 she was hired at the Colorado Springs Public Library as a cataloger. In 1963, the City Library was expanded by voters to the Pikes Peak Library District. She held many positions, especially supervising Reference work. From 1966 to 1968 she was assigned to be founding Director of the five county Plains and Peaks Library System, advising and developing library services in those rural areas.
With technological and physical growth of the Pikes Peak Library District positions became more diverse. In 1986 she retired as Collection Development Librarian, preparing a written plan for the content, growth and uses of the library materials housed by the District. She represented the Library with the Pikes Peak Arts Council and the Adult Education Association. During her professional years she was a member of Southwester, Texas, Colorado, and American Library Associations, and co-founded an informal Association of Librarians of Pikes Peak Region. During retirement she volunteered at the local Horticultural Library and the Colorado Ski Museum in Vail.
Mrs. Sheff was a Life member of Friends of the Library and of American Association of University Women. She held many Board positions of AAUW. She served on the Boards of El Paso and Colorado Springs Credit Unions, and the Colorado Springs Cemetery Board.
Western State Alumni affiliation was a special interest, with visits to the Gunnison campus for Homecomings, Board meetings, building dedications, and special events. Friendships made in college continued through the years, contacting alums in travels. The Sheffs were honored as Loyalty Couple in 1982, and received other recognitions from the College. In the 1990s they closely followed the basketball teams, hosting meals for the teams after local appearances. That evolved into sponsorship of annual awards banquets for the teams in Gunnison.
Mrs. Sheff’s hobbies were travel, gardening and READING. She enjoyed researching her genealogy and history of the Sheff, Kruse and Ellis families. The Kruses were Central City, Colorado pioneers and the Ellis search involved Cherokee and Texas sources. Observing wildlife and nature was influenced by the Cherokee heritage.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, May 6, from 12-3:00 p.m. at the Shrine of Remembrance Funeral Home. She will be entombed privately on Monday at the Shrine of Remembrance Mausoleum, Garden of Angels. Memorial services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 21, 2012 at the Shrine of Remembrance “America the Beautiful” Chapel. A reception will follow at the Olympian Plaza Reception and Event Center, 975 South Union Boulevard.
Memorials may be made to the Pikes Peak Library District, P.O. Box 1579, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80901, or the Western State College Foundation at WSC Foundation, P.O. Box 1264, Gunnison, Colorado 81230, or your favorite charity.