In memoriam: Donald Obee
Donald Obee, a seven-year Village at Skyline resident who was well known in the area as an educator, naturalist and dancer, died in Colorado Springs Aug. 19 at age 99.
The son of Charles and Lillian Obee, he was born in Clio, Mich., Jan. 23, 1912.
Mr. Obee grew up in Kansas City, Kan., and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, specializing in botany and the life sciences.
From 1935 through 1946 he worked summers as a ranger naturalist at Rocky Mountain National Park, and from 1939 to 1946 he taught science at Cheyenne Mountain High School. There he met and subsequently married Doli Shaw, the daughter of the Cheyenne District's superintendent, Lloyd “Pappy” Shaw.
Shaw had gained renown as superintendent for replacing the high school's football program with dancing. In a 2005 interview for the Westside Pioneer, Mr. Obee's son Kent said his father had told him that when he was hired at Cheyenne Mountain, “I wouldn't have known a do-si-do from a garden hose.” The Pioneer article adds: “But upon his arrival, Shaw invited him to a school square dance, suggesting that his daughter, Doli, could walk him through the steps. 'That's how it all began,' the younger Obee laughed.”
In 1946, Mr. and Mrs. Obee and their two children relocated to Boise, Idaho, where he began a 30-year teaching career at what was first Boise Junior College, later Boise State College and finally Boise State University, serving most of that period as chairman of the Life Sciences Department.
In retirement, the couple traveled internationally before moving back to Colorado Springs in November 2004 to be closer to their family. Mrs. Shaw passed away in 2005.
Mr. Obee was a member of a variety of community and professional organizations and enjoyed outdoor activities, including fly-fishing, hiking and skiing. He was the oldest living member of the AdAmAn Club.
Mr. Obee is survived by his daughter Enid and his son Kent, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Services were held at the Village at Skyline Aug. 24. According to fellow resident Martha Simons, a service highlight was when former Village staffer Debbie Bailey sang from Germany (by prior arrangement) the song, “Climb Every Mountain,” using Skype technology.
Edited from obituary by Westside Pioneer