Mary Ann Gregg passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on March 8, 2020 at Mercy Hospice House in Durango, Colorado.
Born on December 30, 1931 on the Miles Family farm in Franklin County, Indiana to Harry and Lois (Miles) Coffey. She was raised on a small family farm on Deep Creek outside of Oxford, Ohio. Her mother was a school teacher and her father, besides farming, worked in machine shops and iron works, holding a variety of technical and skilled jobs.
Mary Ann attended McGuffey elementary and high school in Oxford, Ohio and proudly kept her McGuffey Readers in her library for her entire life. After graduating high school, she attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Teaching and Nutrition. While she was at Miami, she was a telephone switchboard operator and a waitress in the school cafeteria. She spent a summer in Yellowstone Park while she was in college as a "Harvey Girl" at the Yellowstone Lodge. This is where she fell in love with the American West.
Her first job was teaching home economics in Eaton, Ohio. In 1955 she married Joseph Creek, who was teaching at the same school. Early in their marriage they both taught at the Navajo Methodist Mission School in Bisti, New Mexico. In addition to her teaching duties she cooked for 50 students daily on a wood burning stove with no running water. This is when she first became familiar with Durango during a visit in 1957.
In 1970 Joseph Creek tragically died, leaving Mary Ann with their three small children.
Being a young widow, Mary Ann once again turned to her educational background and took a temporary job teaching for the San Juan Basin Health Nutrition program in 1971. She packed up her Chevy SS Nova, loaded a U-Haul trailer and with her three small children and headed west to Durango, Colorado.
After arriving in Durango and trading her Chevy Nova in for a Jeep Wagoneer, she became active in the Methodist Church, where she was introduced to Ernie Gregg. They were married in 1975 and remained a happily married couple for 39 years until Ernie's death in 2016.
During her time in Durango she served on one of the first Tree Advisory (later the Parks and Open Space) board to the City of Durango, she was a substitute teacher for 9-R schools, she taught at New Horizon's Preschool and started and ran Mother's Morning Out which later become the Methodist Christian School. She also spent many years as a Girl Scout leader and was involved in AAUW, 4-H, the Durango Club and most recently participated in the Narrow Gauge Crazy Train UMC Dominoes club and the United Methodist Church Choir.
Most importantly she loved her time with her family. She enjoyed camping at Haviland Lake, spending time at the family cabin at Vallecito Reservoir, as well as traveling to swim meets on the western slope, church camps, girl scout camps and later monthly camping trips with the Good Sam's Camping Club. She enjoyed canoeing, snowmobiling, gardening and especially caring for her rose bushes, flowers and her vegetable garden. She loved the view she had of the La Plata Mountains from the front window of her home.
After Ernie's retirement they enjoyed travelling the country and abroad. They took many trips to the Gulf Coast, Europe, Alaska, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, and the Holy Land. Even after Ernie's death in 2016, she continued to travel and took trips to the Mediterranean with a granddaughter, to The Holy Land again with other members of her Church. She enjoyed many day adventures in the Four Corners area with her family.
She is survived by Mark Coffey Creek (Sharon) of Flagstaff, AZ, Jim (Tana) Creek of Durango, Mary Jo (Andy) Gerster of Golden, CO and nine grandchildren, three great grandchildren all of them across the country from Maine to sunny California. In addition, she is survived by her sister Julie (John) Burneson, of Miamisburg, Ohio and she had a Sister, Jane Peterman who passed away in 2010 who is survived by her husband, Reverend Ed Peterman of Houston, Texas.
Services will be held on Saturday, March 14th at 10:00 am at the First United Methodist Church/Summit Church Durango, Colorado. In Mary Ann's honor, donations may be made to the First United Methodist Native Hope Fund or Mercy Hospice House.
Published in The Durango Herald on Mar. 9, 2020.