Ida was born to Evean and Cecile Leyshon on December 29, 1924 on her parents’ farm near Bayfield CO. The second oldest of ten children, she had to take many responsibilities for both family and the farm. She attended a one-room elementary school on the out-skirts of Bayfield, where she excelled. She graduated from Bayfield High School as valedictorian at the age of 16. She attended Fort Lewis College for two years, before deciding to move to Denver, the same year that her father passed away.
In Denver she attended Barnes School of Business, where she learned accounting, a skill that would later be a large part of her life. While working in Denver, she met Ernest (Ernie) Whitcomb, and they were married in 1947. They saved for a place of their own, and in 1950 they purchased a small house on South Clarkson St in Englewood. They started their family and had three children: son Stan in 1951, daughter Nancy in 1954 and son Dale in 1959.
The period from 1951 until 1974 was centered around family. Ernie worked at the Post Office and with a succession of second jobs, while Ida managed the home and also worked on the side, particularly after the children started school. They moved to a larger home on South Grant in Englewood in 1963. Ida instilled her children with independence, responsibility, and a commitment to learning. Holidays and other special occasions were usually spent with their extended family, as more of Ida’s and Ernie’s siblings moved to the Denver area.
In 1964, Ida learned that Roscoe Riley was looking for someone to help in his tax preparation business. Ida’s skills with accounting and her ability to think logically made her a perfect candidate and she began what would become her main career. The early years were a mad scramble during the first four months of each year (‘tax season’), with a much more leisurely pace as she worked with a small number of accounting clients during the rest of the year. She had a large number of repeat tax clients, oftentimes taking on multiple generations as children of her long-term clients started off on their adult lives.
In 1975, Ernie retired from the Post Office, with plans to move to a farm outside Cedaredge, CO. Ida had no interest in leaving Denver and they divorced. By that time, she had enough accounting clients that her position with Riley Income Tax Service was a fulltime year-round one. When Mr. Riley (as Ida continued to call him throughout her life) decided to retire in 1984, Ida purchased the business from him and continued to operate it under the same name. She sold the business to Towers Tax Service in the mid 90’s, but continued to work there with her long-term clients until she retired in 2005 at the age of 80.
In 2007, Ida moved to the Englewood Meridian Senior Community on South Corona St. in Englewood, not far from her original home on Clarkson. She made a new set of friends and immediately took up a number of activities, including learning to play bridge. She eventually took over management of the Little Country Store inside the Meridian and helped make it a social hub as well as a place to pick up that last-minute necessity. She continued to live there independently, until she suffered a stroke in November 2017.
While on Clarkson St, Ida and Ernie joined Emmanuel Methodist Church, and Ida was a dedicated member of the congregation for more than 60 years. During that time, she attended Sunday services regularly and participated in numerous activities there. She served on the church board as church treasurer for many years. When Emmanuel merged with another congregation to form Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church in 2013, she transferred her membership there and continued to attend until she was no longer able.
Ida was a proud Coloradan; she could never quite understand why anyone would voluntarily leave Colorado to live anywhere else. She traveled widely, but her greatest love was to return home to the beauty of her home state. She cheered all the Colorado sports teams, but especially her beloved Broncos. She loved mental challenges of all sorts, including crossword puzzles, many different card games (especially poker and bridge), and Scrabble.
But Ida’s greatest love was her family. Her children took very different paths through life, but she was equally proud of their accomplishments and of the people they became. She welcomed her daughters-in-law and made them feel a part of her family. Although she left home while many of her siblings were still young children, she maintained contact and grew to love the adults they became. She marked her personal history using the periodic family reunions. She became a part of Ernie’s family when they married and continued to be close to many of them even after they divorced. Indeed, the majority of you reading this will probably remember her forever as “Aunt Ida.”
Ida is survived by children Stanley (Laurie) Whitcomb and Nancy Whitcomb, and siblings Glen (Peggy) Leyshon and Pearl (Terry) Wiggins. She is predeceased by son Dale (Parnell, Tammy) Whitcomb, and siblings Leslie Leyshon, Mary (Glen) Richardson, Ruth (Robert Howe, Louis) Oleson, Henry (Bernadine) Leyshon, Vernon (Shirley, JoAnn) Leyshon, Ethel (Chester) Miller, Cecile (Tommy) Dice.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Warren Village, 1323 N. Gilpin St, CO 80218 (http://www.warrenvillage.org) or to the charity of your choice.