A.W. Adolf -- 1985
The diminishing ranks of eastern Colorado's
early settlers lost one of its best-known and well-loved members with the
death of A.W. Adolf. Feb. 12, 1985 in Burlington.
Born May 8, 1890 to Russian-German homesteaders
August and Katherine (Richter) Adolf in the "Settlement" north of Bethune,
August Wilhelm was the first male birth registered in the newly incorporated
Kit Carson County, and with the exception of several summers spent working
on ranches in Nebraska and- Kansas during his teenage years, he lived and
worked his entire 94 1/2 years in this county.
In 1912 he filed a homestead claim on
160 acres 61/2 miles north of Bethune, still farmed by his son Allan and
his grandson Wane. On Nov. 10, 1912, he married Eva Maria Weisshaar
at Immanuel Lutheran Church - in the "Old Rock Church" - and brought his
bride to the adobe house where five of the couple's eight children were
born and raised.
Their family grew with the country through early years of drought and
plenty, hardship and joy. During the "Dust Bowl Days" of the '30's,
when many gave up and moved to other parts of the country, he and his family
stayed and struggled through some of the Eastern Plains' darkest days,
because, as he often repeated in later times, he had faith in the land
and the God who made it.
A.W. only had three years of formal schooling but
always had a high regard for education, as evidenced by the fact that he
put five of his children through college. His oldest daughter, Hilda,
was the first girl from the Settlement to finish high school and A.W. served
on the school board of the Bethune district for many years, as president.
His grandchildren and great-grandchildren recall that A.W. always encouraged
them to get as much schooling as possible.
An early member of the Kit Carson County Cattlemen's
Association, A.W. was a leader in improving the breed of livestock, introducing
the first registered Angus herd in the area in the 1940's. Many remember
him as an ardent horseman, raising registered Palominos and Percheron draft
horses and riding in Kit Carson County rodeo parades and "trail rides"
until recent years.
A life-long member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, he
was the first baby baptized in the newly-formed congregation, and served
his church as a member of the church council for many years, often as president.
He never willingly missed Sunday services during his 94 1/2 years and is
remembered as a man of prayer and devout communicant by the pastors who
have served the rural congregation, the oldest ALC church in Colorado.
A.W. and his wife, Eva Maria (Mary) retired
from their ranch and moved into Burlington in 1955, making their home at
463 Cherry St. for the past 30 years. A.W. was a familiarly figure
at sales and auctions in the area and derived great enjoyment form a sale
of his collectibles in 1979.
A.W. and Mary marked their wedding anniversaries
in recent years with family reunions, one of the largest being on their
70th wedding anniversary in 1982 when all of their eight children, most
of their 21 grandchildren and spouses, and many of, their greatgrandchildren
were present. Also present were three of the Adolfs' five great-great
grandchildren. The family had gathered from eight states and were
delighted to hear "Papa" as he was known to his family, speak of the blessings
of his long life, and especially of his "best blessing": his beloved wife
and sweethear, Mary.
A.W.'s funeral on Saturday, Feb. 16, saw Immanuel Lutheran
Church filled to overflowing to honor the life of one who was identified
as a "true patriarch - like Moses" by the Adolf's pastor, Preacher Michael
Greenwalt. The Immanuel Men's Choir sang "Softly and Tenderly" and
"The Old Rugged Cross" and the Adolf's grandson, Pr. Gregory Adolf
of Tucson, preached on the text, "Be thou faithful unto death and I will
give thee the crown of life." (Revelation 2:10).
A.W.'s grandsons, Ernest Ziegler, Donald Ziegler,
Duane Richards, Rand Patterson, Anthony Adolf, John Pugh, Mark Pugh, Devin
Wood, Lance Wood and Wayne Adolf were pallbearers. His granddaughters,
Darlene Hendricks, Donna Powell, Esther Young, Mary Lou Colglazier, Holly
Delach, Lynne Serafin, Cynthia Murphy, Debra Webb, Janet Wood and Pamela
Burton served as honorary pallbearers.
A.W. is survived by his wife Mary, his children,
Hilda Ziegler of Burlington; Amanda Richards of Bethune; Leona Hefner of
Kalamazoo, Mich.; Arthur Adolf of Phoenix, Ariz., Gladys Patterson of Littleton;
Della Pugh of Aurora; Eva Wood of Stratton and Allan Adolf of Bethune;
21 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, 5 great-great grandchildren and
numerous nieces and nephews.
Burial followed the Service of the Resurrection in the Immanuel Lutheran
Cemetery. Memorial gifts are suggested to Immanuel Lutheran Church - and may be
dropped at the First National Bank in Burlington.