Mildred Elizabeth West

Mildred, age 101, a longtime resident of Blanca, Colo., was called to her heavenly home on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023. In 1930, she was adopted as a child by Oscar and Bessie Rice of Kensington, Kan. She was born on July 14, 1922, in Arkansas City, Kan., to James and Edna O'Connell. The youngest of four children, her birth name was Virginia Ione O'Connell. 

Mildred was a loving and devoted mother and a kind and generous friend. She was a skilled seamstress and knitter, an excellent cook, a blue-ribbon award-winning canner and a master fudge maker with chocolate and burnt sugar fudge as her specialties. She was employed with the U.S. Army Depot in Pueblo, Colo., started her postal career as a clerk and retired as the Postmaster of Blanca, Colo. After retirement, Mildred became a snowbird and wintered in Quartzsite, Ariz., over the years. She was a devout, humble, and faithful Christian and a lifelong follower of Jesus. God blessed her with a long and extraordinary life.

In addition to providing for her family, Mildred loved spending time with friends. She enjoyed playing Bridge, bowling and loved a good practical joke. As a world traveler she explored Ireland, Australia, Japan, Iceland, Africa, Europe and many more countries and was always ready for an adventure — like zip-lining in Hawaii at 89 which made her the oldest person to complete the course!

She is survived by her daughters, Judith (Dennis) Hughes and Shirley Kohler, son, Tom West; grandchildren, Travis (Claudia) Hughes, Dia (Michael) Hall, Leesha (Ryan) Keith, and Jennifer (Eric) Pelley; great-grandchildren, Joseph (Melissa) Quarles, Savannah (Perry) Williams, Austin (Rachael) Hall, Adolar Hughes, Alastriona Hughes, and Dharma Keith; beloved cousin Marsha (Mike) Telesmanic and many other family members and friends including a few furry friends.

She was preceded in death by Linton "Tom" L. West; her sister, Florence O'Brien and brothers, Edward Christian and Alfred O'Connell; and son-in-law Michael Kohler.

Mildred's family is grateful to all the Doctors and staff for their compassionate and tender care of their Mom throughout her lifetime and during her final days.

On Saturday, Oct. 14, a gathering of family and friends will begin at 11 a.m. and followed by A Celebration of Life at 1 p.m. at the Monte Vista Church of Christ, 200 Franklin St., Monte Vista, CO. The family extends an invitation to join them at Oscar’s in Alamosa, Colo., at the conclusion of the services.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made online at or be mailed to Full of Hope Foundation,1940 W. Chandler Blvd, STE 2-153, Chandler, AZ 85224 in memory of Mildred West.