Marilyn Colyer was born February 26, 1939 on the Ritter Ranch in Dolores, CO to John Walter and Maurice Charlotte (Thomas) Ritter.
She enjoyed living on the ranch with her dogs, horses, cattle, sheep and many other animals. During this time she visited the many scenic areas of the San Juan Mountains as well as the vast desert areas, often on horseback.
Marilyn moved with her family to Mancos, where, as a teenager she rode her horse in the mountains and developed a lifelong love for Pekingese dogs. Her parents built a cabin in the mountains that they affectionately named “Ritter’s Roost” where Marilyn spent many days. It was during this time that she developed an intense interest in entomology, botany and zoology. Marilyn was an active member of the community and was a participant in several 4-H clubs.
After graduating from Mancos High School Marilyn attended Colorado State University, where she majored in biology and was active in the hiking club. During the summers she worked at the Jersey Jim fire lookout tower near Mancos. Marilyn’s passion for the natural world led to a career as a Natural Resource Ranger at Mesa Verde National Park. Her duties included work on the Wetherill archeological project where her sketches were essential. She also worked with ecological projects involving wildlife and their habitat. Marilyn’s dedication to protecting our natural resources influenced many family and friends to follow in her footsteps.
After her retirement from the National Park Service in 2008 Marilyn spent considerable time travelling with her family, working on the ranch, studying local history and writing several books. Her many writings, drawings, studies and journals are archived at the Mancos Library. Marilyn was a storyteller and loved to talk about her son, grandchildren, nieces, friends, animals and everyday life. She had endless tales of family excursions to Wales, Norway, Alaska and many other destinations.
Marilyn is survived by her son Tern Colyer of Mancos; her grandson Cody Colyer of San Diego, CA; granddaughter Courtney Colyer of Post Falls, ID; brother John Thomas Ritter of Orcas Island, WA; three beloved nieces, many loving friends and Panda Bear & Gra Wulf.
Memorial gifts may be made to Montezuma Land Conservancy, PO Box 1522, Cortez, CO 81321 or Best Friends Animal Society,(Attn: Member Services) 5001 Angel Canyon Rd., Kanab, UT 84741.
We in Marilyn’s family would like to express our deepest gratitude for the love and community support during this difficult time.