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Velena Eggleston
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Velena G. Eggleston, descendent of the pioneer Griffith family that moved to the Durango area in the 1880s, passed away on Friday, July 3, 2009, after a 13-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 93.

Velena was born in Durango on January 23, 1916, to Charles W. and Della Twombly Griffith. She was a granddaughter to one of Durango’s first physicians, Dr. D.W. Griffith, who was hired by the railroad in Durango. She graduated from Durango High School in 1933. Upon graduation she ventured to California and attended Pomona College before graduating from UCLA in 1938. She then taught school in California for several years.

During her time in California, she met and married Thomas G. (Tom) Eggleston. They met at a Coconut Grove Tea Dance (with Freddy Martin’s Orchestra) at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, in 1942. They were married on Sept. 29, 1944, in Glendale, Calif. The couple briefly lived in Minneapolis before settling permanently in Durango.

Velena was a homemaker and volunteer for her children’s activities. She was a 62-year member of Chapter BR, P.E.O. and a lifelong member of the Durango Reading Club. She enjoyed a Friday Bridge Club with several women friends. She was also a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Durango. Her family donated the land where the Florida Mesa Presbyterian Church is currently located.

Velena and Tom enjoyed a great life with their family and a core group of couples who spent many years playing bridge, dancing, traveling and watching Super Bowl games together. They traveled extensively throughout the world and within the United States and Canada.

She is survived by two daughters, Virginia Eggleston of Novato, Calif., and Barbara Conn of Durango; one son, Bob Eggleston (Dawn) of Pagosa Springs; two granddaughters, Kati Rogers (D.J.) of Bayfield and Kristin Conn of Durango; one grandson, Brandan Eggleston of Pagosa Springs; one great-granddaughter, Kyra Rogers of Bayfield; a sister-in-law, Noni Griffith, of Durango; and several nieces and nephews. Tom, her husband of 56 years, predeceased her in 2002.

Her family remembers her for never saying anything bad about anyone, for her calm mellow disposition, for her graciousness, for her integrity, for her kindness, for her love of family, and for her artistic talents. She always had beautiful flower arrangements decorating her home. Her homemade chocolate cakes and English toffee were cherished by friends and family alike.

The family would like to thank the staff at Sunshine Gardens Country Home for the compassionate and loving care they provided Velena for many years.

Graveside services were held at 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 8, at Greenmount Cemetery in Durango. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter, 455 Sherman St., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80203, Buck Institute for Age Research, 8001 Redwood Boulevard, Novato, CA 94925, or any charitable organization involved with Alzheimer’s research. An online guestbook is available by selecting obituaries at