Edith Celestine Diemoz
Aspen, CO Colorado
Edith C. Diemoz was born in Satank, the tiny village north of Colorado Rocky Mountain School on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, near Carbondale. She was 93 when she died May 10, 2011.
The railroad stopped in Satank on its run between Glenwood and Aspen to pick up the valley’s huge potato crop and deliver wine-making grapes from California to the many northern Italian immigrants in the valley. In January 1918, Edith’s pregnant mother had taken up temporary refuge in Satank due to heavy snows that blanketed the family farm on Prince Creek at the base of Mt. Sopris. Edith’s parents, Frances (Cullet) Vallet and August Vallet, raised potatoes, chickens, pigs and cattle. The family carried their domestic water from the creek to the ranch house and washed clothes along Prince Creek’s banks in a caldron hung over a fire ring of stone.
Edith’s parents were among the many French Patois-speaking immigrants from Italy who chose to settle in the Roaring Fork Valley. The high mountains surrounding the beautiful valley reminded them of home. These immigrant farmers were expert irrigators from villages high in the isolated Val de Aosta in the northern Italian Alps at the base of St. Bernard Pass.
Edith attended school in Carbondale and, after graduating, married Adolph Diemoz in 1936. Adolph was the cowboy rancher son of another Val de Aosta family that ranched outside of Basalt, in Emma. Edith and Adolph grew potatoes and raised cattle on Missouri Heights until just prior to the second World War, when they moved to San Mateo, Calif., where Adolph worked in a defense shipyard and served in the Coast Guard. After the war, Adolph got a California contracting license and the couple went into the contracting business, with Edith keeping meticulous books.
Missing Colorado, they returned in 1951 to the valley where they grew up. In the 1950s, they worked with the monks to help build the monastery in Old Snowmass. For many decades during the Christmas season, Edith would bake pineapple upside down cakes for the monks in her cast iron skillets. They operated Diemoz Construction Co., a company focused on quality and honesty, until 1964, when the business passed on to their son, Floyd. Edith continued to keep books until she retired at the age of 65.
Edith was a member of the Valley View Hospital Association Board of Directors from 1969 to 1977. In 1964, she was active in founding Glenwood’s first historical museum, located in the Hotel Colorado. She supported the museum through its numerous moves until it found its current home in the Schumaker house on Colorado Avenue.
Edith loved music and was instrumental in re-activating the Community Concert Association in 1963.
In addition to music, Edith loved dancing, hiking in the Colorado high country; exploring Colorado ghost towns and history; and protecting the wild Colorado outdoors.
Edith is preceded in death by her husband, who died in 2004; two sisters, Lena Root and Orlanda Scatena; and two brothers, Lester and Ceasar Vallet.
She is survived by a son, Floyd (Lavonne) Diemoz of Glenwood Springs, and daughter Frances Diemoz (Alan) of Santa Fe, N.M.; four grandchildren, Corinne (Steve) DeRaddo and John (Vreni) Diemoz of Glenwood Springs, and Adam and Amanda Webber of Los Angeles, Calif.; and four great-grandchildren, Lindsey, Shannon and Brian DeRaddo, and Erica Diemoz, all of Glenwood Springs.
Services will be held at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Glenwood Springs on Monday, May 16 at 10 a.m. A Rosary will be held prior to the service, at 9:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Edith’s memory can be sent to the Frontier Historical Society; 1001 Colorado Ave.; Glenwood Springs, CO 81601.
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Perhaps it’s because we are in the abbreviated days of winter and I instinctively know that the sun is shining down-under. But every January I go through a nostalgic period where Australian wine dominates my mind.