Iola was born to P.C. and Sara Crowley in Chromo, Colo., on Jan. 17, 1915. She passed away on May 9, 2011, at Pine Ridge Extended Care.
She was the youngest of six children. Iola married George “Babe” Shahan on Oct. 15, 1934, in Lumberton, N.M. Together, they raised four children: Bob, Joe, Donnie and Ronnie.
Iola is preceded in death by her husband, George; sons, Bob Shahan and Ronald Shahan; infant twin girls; granddaughter, Sara Lee Regester; and great-grandson, Chase Regester.
She is survived by her sons, Joe Shahan and daughter-in-law Aggie; Donald Shahan and daughter-law Fern Shahan; and daughter-in-law Betty Shahan.
Iola has nine grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
Iola grew up along the Navajo River on the prominent Crowley Ranch.
Iola’s dad, P.C. Crowley, trailed a herd of cattle up from Palo Pinto County, Texas, to Chromo in 1902.
Their destination had been Aztec, N.M.; when they reached Espanola, N.M., someone told them that Aztec looked a lot like Espanola. P.C.’s dad returned to Texas in disgust, and P.C. brought his herd to Chromo instead, where he supported a growing family by breaking horses and running cattle. Six youngsters came along. They all helped work the cattle, including the girls.
Iola’s dad kept as many steers as he could feed during the winter, then he would enlarge his herd in the spring, with all of the steers he could afford to buy. He would run up to 10,000 steers and 500 mother cows. In the fall, he’d sell most of the herd and start all over again in the spring.
Iola would ride with her dad and family, pushing the cattle up into the mountains for summer pasture, then bring them down in the fall, drive them to Chama, N.M., and put them on the railroad to Denver for sale.
Iola was chosen for the Pioneer Lady in 1987, and she and her husband, Babe, were also chosen to be the grand marshals for the Fourth of July parade one year.
Iola’s passions were her family, riding horseback and gardening, to name a few.
Funeral services for Iola will be May 14, 2011, at 10 a.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Pagosa Springs, Colo.