Cover photo for Phyllis Mcclellan's Obituary
1932 Phyllis 2022

Phyllis Mcclellan

March 29, 1932 — October 14, 2022

Phyllis McClellan (age 90) died peacefully of natural causes at HopeWest Hospice in Grand Junction surrounded by her children on October 14, 2022.

Phyllis June (Elder) McClellan was born in Pleasantview, Colorado to Hannah and Frank Elder. Her childhood was spent with her four siblings: Barbara, Patricia, Winifred, and Howard in Mancos and Telluride. After graduating high school in Telluride, she attended college in Gunnison and Florida. She then moved to West End Montrose County where she pretty much lived until the time of her death.

She married William “Ed” McClellan and welcomed four children: William “Bill” McClellan (& Jacque) of Naturita, Mary Clarke, Laurie Smith (& Gordon) of Nucla, and Sharon McClellan (& Gerald) of Mesa. She has 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. One grandson (Gregory) preceded her in death.

Mom was born with an extraordinary artistic talent, and attended the private Ringling College of Art school in Sarasota, FL. She worked primarily in oil painting, with her favorite subjects being elk, horses, and everything ranching. She was a perfectionist and once those paintings were done, they looked life-like, and made you feel as if you were there in person.

Cattle, horses, and ranching were Mom’s true passion. She brought some of the first Limousin cattle into Colorado and grew and improved that herd by doing her own artificial insemination (she was one of the very first women to become an AI tech). She continually researched and studied genetics and built a reputable herd. She continued actively managing her herd of Limousin up until just a couple of years ago.

She was an avid horsewoman and preferred to be horseback more than anything.   Her love of horses started early as she rode the teams her dad used daily, dreaming of the day she would have a real “cowhorse”. Mom had an intimate connection with all animals, and she was exceptional at nursing the hurt and sick; she would never never give up on them. The house always had some injured bird, or squirrel, even a coyote, as well as our farm animals being nursed back to health.

Even tho there were many years she didn’t have much, she would generously share everything she had. Mom endured some hard times in her life – she was one tough, hardworking woman that believed in being independent and self-sufficient.  She was beautiful and classy, compassionate, and kind, and she will forever be missed.

Happy Trails, Mom – ride on and rest in peace.

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