Ferne Elizabeth Eaton Colley passed away on July 19 in Beaumont at her daughter Linda Smith’s home.
Ferne was born Feb. 13, 1919 in Unionville, Mo., one of six children of Jessie and Stewart Eaton.
She attended a one-room school near their farm through eighth grade and graduated from high school in Unionville.
She moved to Denver to attend business school.
It was there that she met Lee Colley. They were married in Denver on June 16, 1940.
Before Lee’s retirement from the U.S. Forest Service, they lived in South Dakota and Colorado.
They were almost inseparable for 52 years.
Prior to Lee’s death in 1992 they were able to take advantage of a long retirement allowing for travel to places as diverse as New England, Florida, two trips each to Hawaii and Alaska, and several trips to Green Valley, Ariz., which they ultimately chose as their retirement home.
In addition to travel, Ferne and Lee loved square dancing and playing bridge.
She continued hosting bridge foursomes after Lee’s passing until she moved to California in 2011 to be near Linda.
After she moved she played bridge several times a week.
She enjoyed taking advantage of activities provided by the Lakes at Banning Senior Living, including exercise, bus tours and shopping with friends.
Ferne was an excellent cook and passed along many of her favorite recipes.
She also loved to read, and when her sight failed she easily transitioned to books on tape.
She was a woman of tremendous strength and resilience.
When she was in her mid 80s, her son David scolded her because just before she answered the phone, she had been on the roof sweeping off the pine needles. She had definitely done it before and would probably do it again. Her reason? — It has to be done. When she was 90, she flew from Tucson to Beaumont to care of Linda after a surgery.
Ferne was of the Methodist faith and regularly attended Banning United Methodist Church until her health no longer permitted it.
Ferne was preceded in death by her parents and siblings, husband Lee, son David, and son-in-law Don Smith.
She is survived by daughter Linda Smith; grandson Steve Smith of Beaumont; daughter-in-law Beth Colley; granddaughters Candy (Terry) Letterman and Tracy (Dean) Curtis; great-granddaughters Claire Letterman (Dustin) Thompson and Schae Letterman; great-grandsons Cole and Ryan Curtis; and great-great-granddaughters Finleigh and Lilith Thompson, all of Missouri.
The family wishes to thank Ferne’s wonderful caregiver Heidi Thomas, as well as Comfort Keepers Caregiving. We are also grateful for the services of Redlands Community Hospital Hospice.
No services are planned. Her wishes were for her ashes to be taken to Green Valley Cemetery in Arizona for inurnment with Lee’s.
Arrangements handled by Wiefels and Son Mortuary in Banning.