Styla Mae Harper Athey

styla harper athey

 Styla Mae Harper Athey

Born: 08/29/1918                   Died: 09/03/2011

Styla was born in Cirtsville, (Raleigh County) West Virginia on April 29, 1918.  She was from a large family, which followed the coal-mining camps around West Virginia. She told many interesting tales of those years; one was of helping deliver the “white lightning” produced by her half-Cherokee father’s still, in the dark of night, by wading a creek and tying the jug to a rope hung out the purveyor’s back window. Another tale speaks to her indomitable spirit when the family moved from one of the coal company’s shacks where the landlord wouldn’t fix the leaky tin roof. Styla took it upon herself to make sure he had to repair it for the next tenant by piercing the tin several times with a large butcher knife. Her mother died at 39 in childbirth, when Styla was 16. At that time, Styla stepped forward to tend to and raise her younger siblings. She was married on August 21, 1937 to Willard F. Athey, and they remained so, just shy of 51 years, until Willard’s death on January 28, 1988 at age 79. They had a good life together and were partners in every sense. They shared many good times hunting and fishing in Colorado, Florida, and Canada, among others. They enjoyed life and their many friends. They had one child, Gary, who was born on 09/03/1943. Willard served in Europe during WWII. Upon his return, they moved to Colorado and resided there for the rest of their lives. She took diligent care of her husband during the 18 years he suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, eventually contracting lymphoma herself, from which she recovered. Always an avid gardener, Styla’s yard was a testimony to her skill. From many types of fruit, to her productive vegetable garden, to her showy flowers, people complement her legacy still, when walking by. And the produce didn’t go to waste – she was an excellent southern cook, always feeding friends and family wonderful multi-course meals. Styla will be greatly missed by her family. We are thankful that her suffering is at an end. She will always live in our memories and in our gratitude. We loved her dearly.


Graveside services will be held on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 10:15 am at Fort Logan National Cemetery (staging area "C").

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