Aileen Dorothy Starkey Tolley
September 10th, 1927 – January 8th, 2023
Aileen Dorothy Starkey Tolley, age 95, of Dinosaur, Colorado passed away peacefully on Jan. 8th, 2023. Aileen was born to Arthur and Erma (Tomasheska) Starkey on September 10th, 1927, in Elyria, Ohio. Growing up in the “Great Depression “and WW II era, she learned early the meaning of the phrase God, Family, Country and lived her entire life by those three words. Because she was an “A “student throughout High School, she was permitted to work afternoons along with her 2 sisters and classmates in the factories of Ohio, for the war effort. Aileen or Dot as she was known to her friends’ spray painted the wings of bomber planes that would help to win WW II. Although they never had a homecoming or prom, due in part to the lack of boys who fudged their age and enlisted in the service, they didn’t complain. Aileen graduated high school in 1945 with honors. Her dream of becoming a medical doctor was never realized as she married William Tolley on June 16th, 1945 when he returned from fighting in Europe WW II. Aileen’s service continued throughout her life, teaching Sunday school for over 50 years, helping with veterans including her brother-in-law Samuel (a POW for 3 years in Germany) until his death, helping the VFW, American Legion, voting booths, serving on Dinosaur town Council, etc. After losing their first child Patrick Stephen Tolley at 2 days of age, they went on to have 7 more children. Bill (Doris-Deceased), Edward (KIA Vietnam), Arthur (Deceased) (Lydia), Aileen/Ciss, Frank (Tena), Samuel (Lonnie), Mark (Bertha). 12 grandchildren, 25 Great Grandchildren and 6 Great, Great Grandchildren. Aileen became a “Gold Star “mother in May of 1969 when one of her two oldest sons (both fighting in Vietnam), Edward, was KIA. Aileen would lose a 3rd son, Arthur, to cancer in 2011. Upon moving to Dinosaur in 1971(a dryer climate to help her husband suffering from emphysema) they immediately began to place U.S. flags on the graves of the Veterans in the Dinosaur cemetery, a service which she continued to present day. After losing her husband to emphysema in 1974, she finished raising her 3 youngest children on her own. Aileen began cooking at the Dinosaur school in 1971 and continued for almost 30 years, her love of children always evident. Aileen believed in the importance of education and returned to school at CNCC, graduated with Honors and an AAS degree in the 80’s. In 2015 Aileen was instrumental in starting the Tolley Family scholarship and enjoyed reviewing applicants and reading about their dreams and aspirations. She remained active in the church throughout her entire life and loved to teach children about Jesus and the teachings of the Bible. Aileen’s faith was tested many times in her life, but losing 3 children put it to the ultimate test, she never wavered. God, Family, Country.
Services for Aileen will be held Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 10:30 am at the First Baptist Church in Rangely (207 South Sunset Ave) followed by a luncheon.
Burial will then follow in the Dinosaur Cemetery.