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Aggie Wareham Has Retired. . . or maybe not!

Rowena McLaughlin
Gateway, Colorado

At age 75, Aggie Wareham of Gateway, Colo., has sold her small ranch — cows and all– to Andrew and Mandy Massey. It was quite a surprise to all of us who just knew Aggie would never sell all her cows!

Aggie has lived in the Gateway area all of her life. At age seventeen she married a cowboy, Ted Wareham, who worked for several of the local ranchers. Aggie enjoyed the ranching life, especially riding horses and herding cows. About the time her oldest daughter started to school, Aggie became the cook at the Gateway School.

Following the death of our Dad in 1971, Aggie and Ted spent a lot more time helping our mother, Helen, take care of her ranch. Over the years they built up the herd for Helen and added quite a few of their own cows to it. It wasn’t until Helen suffered a major heart attack in 1990 that Aggie retired from the cooking job she had held for 33 years and devoted most of her time taking care of the ranch and helping care for our mother.

Ted passed away in 1997 and our mother in January of 1998, so Aggie carried on alone. “I had a lot of help from family and good friends,” says Aggie.

I remember once when Aggie had only one calf yet unbranded and it was time to go to the mountain for the summer.

“I guess I’ll just take care of the job myself,” Aggie declared. I offered to help her but mostly I just watched. Aggie did real good with everything but still had the earmarking to do. I watched as she cut a sliver of hide off the top of one ear and the bottom of the other ear.

“How does it look?” she asked. I burst out laughing so hard I could barely answer. “It looks like the calf isn’t earmarked,” I said. Aggie twiddled the ears this way and that and finally said, “I don’t care! I’d probably take off too much if I tried again, so that’s it!”

One of Aggie’s greatest satisfactions has come from being involved with the Merry Mixers 4-H Club for 46 years. Currently, she is Organizational Leader and Project Leader for Heritage Arts.

“I think Aggie is an exceptional leader. She is always prepared, good with the kids, and totally dedicated,” says Linda Moores, another 4-H leader of the same caliber. “My kids benefited a lot from Aggie’s leadership.”

Aggie has been project leader for various categories during her many years of involvement with the 4-H kids — sewing, knitting, cooking, canning, beef, swine, and sheep to name a few. She was Superintendent of the Home Economics Division at the Mesa County Fair for several years. Aggie was named the Mesa County Outstanding 4-H Leader in 1973 and again in 1995. In 1984 she was honored as Outstanding 4-H Leader for Colorado. As of now, she plans to continue working with the 4-H organization for as long as possible.

In 2003 the Merry Mixers 4-H Club set up the Aggie Wareham Scholarship. There are several qualifications that must be met in order to receive this scholarship. It goes to any senior graduating from Gateway High School who has been active in 4-H for at least two years. One of these years must be during high school. The senior must write a letter of application and have a GPA of 3.5 or above. $500.00 is given the first semester the recipient attends college. Then if the GPA is still at least 3.5 another $500.00 is awarded at the beginning of the second semester. The scholarship is funded mostly by 4-H club fundraisers. Also, anyone wishing to donate to this scholarship may do so and it will be greatly appreciated. The Cowboy Poetry Event held each spring in Gateway is one of the largest fundraisers.

One of Aggie’s pleasing and beneficial pastimes is quilting. She has made many quilts for graduating seniors, friends, family, fundraisers, and just for the fun of it. She does a lot of sewing but quilting is a definite favorite. I asked her if she was going to keep on quilting and she looked at me as if I was crazy. “As long as I can see to thread a needle,” she responded.

Aggie loves to hike and the hills around Gateway are all familiar to her. She still often climbs the Hike Hill so named by her and her siblings when they were small children. “I am so glad I live here where I can go hiking and enjoy the peacefulness of nature,” says Aggie.

I suggest if you ever go hiking with Aggie that you be prepared to carry back about forty pounds of pretty or unusual rocks for the rock border by the side of her house.

We hope Aggie will enjoy life for many more years and may God bless. She is an inspiration to all who know her.


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