Constance Ann Connie Elder Obituary

Description: Constance Ann Connie Elder Obituary... Our Heartfelt Condolences To Her Loved Ones...

Published: 11/13/2023
Byline: SECO News

Constance Ann "Connie" Elder

Dec 4, 1929  -  Nov 11, 2023


Connie Elder, 93, peacefully passed away Saturday, November 11, 2023 at the Crowley County Nursing Center in Ordway, Colorado, from a long illness.

Connie was born Wednesday, December 4, 1929, in Monroe, Michigan. The daughter of Henrietta M. Lemerand and Alonzo Benjamin Bragdon. Connie was raised in Monroe and attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and St. Mary Academy High School, graduating in 1948. After High School she worked three years to obtain her Nursing Diploma School at St. Vincent Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. In 1951 she passed the Ohio State Board for Registered Nurse which had reciprocity for the State of Michigan. In September, of that year, Connie started nursing school where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Colorado University in 1958. Connie has a M. A. Degree in Trainable Mentally Retarded from the University of Northern Colorado in 1977.

Connie married George A. Elder November 27, 1962 at St. Louis Catholic Church in Memphis, Tennessee and eventually moved to La Junta where they both were longtime active members of the community.

Connie spent her early years in Dundee and Monroe, Michigan. Her first part time job was working weekends at Kitchen Aid. She moved to work on the Obstetrical Floor at Mercy Hospital in Monroe.

Being very independent she started her life’s journey in 1954, when she traveled old Route 66 to San Diego, California by herself in her first car. After arriving she got a job on the Orthopedic Floor at a San Diego Hospital. She continued her education and graduated from Colorado University in Boulder.

She met George Elder in 1957 in Russian History Class, while employed part-time at Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, in Boulder. From there she went to St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, Kansas. She continued to move and was employed as an Assistant Professor for Obstetrics at the University of Tennessee from 1959-1963. While there she married George Elder.

After marrying George she moved to La Junta where she was employed as Surgical Head Nurse at the Mennonite Hospital. In 1968 she was the nurse Instructor for Practical Nursing at the hospital. 1968 she was employed at Arkansas Valley Center for Developmentally Disabled for 11 ½ years.

In December, 1972 Kenneth Topliss became part of their family.

From 1980 to 1994 Connie was the Nurse Instructor for the Nursing Program at Otero Junior College in La Junta. 1994 she received the Faculty of the Year Award. That same year she retired from Otero-College.

After retirement Connie and George volunteered in way to many groups for me to list here, but “active and involved” are the key words. Connie loved Colorado and especially La Junta so it was mutual love affair. Connie and George knew everybody and had many friends.

Her father had TB and died at an early age. Henrietta remarried to Charles Lemerand and adopted Connie. Connie has an older sister Carolyn Jean Soper (97), residing in Austin, Texas. Connie was preceded in death by two sisters, Kathryn Benson and Barbara Harrington, one brother Charles Lemerand and her husband George Elder. James Lemerand is the youngest brother and resides in Glennie, Michigan. Ken Topliss and his wife, Barb reside in Canon City, Colorado. There were many people who Connie thought as her children and Melissa Braz graduation from Adams State University in 2007 was an extremely happy moment for Connie.

Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be Friday, November 17, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. followed by the Funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m. Both services at Our Lady of Guadalupe/St. Patrick’s Parish with Father Joseph Matitu officiating. Interment will take place at Ft. Lyon National Cemetery at Ft. Lyon, CO at 11:30 a.m. directly following the Mass. 

Online condolences may be made at Peacock-Larsen Funeral Home & Arkansas Valley Crematory is in charge of arrangements.

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