Long-time North Fork Valley resident Elisa Antoinette Greco, of Hotchkiss, Colorado, passed away on Thursday, May 12th, 2022 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado at the age of 71.
Elisa was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on June 7th, 1950 to Constance DelVecchio and Joseph Greco. She spent her childhood in Hartford, and graduated from high school there where she also attended college.
She loved to travel, and her travels brought her to Colorado in the early 1970s, first to the Boulder area and then to the North Fork Valley. She quickly became a great friend and contributor to her new community. She worked as a nurse's assistant before becoming one of the first women underground coal miners in the North Fork Valley, where she also became a highly-regarded member of the Mine Rescue Team at Colorado Westmoreland's Orchard Valley Mine, a role that she treasured.
She married Thomas Jeffrey (Jeff) Reynolds on November 23rd, 1983. Their son Willis Reynolds was born in January, 1987.
Elisa loved creating fabric arts for friends and family. She also enjoyed her flower garden and other outdoor pursuits. She was quite generous in the gifts of her creations. Her eye for beauty extended to the natural world where she enjoyed spending time with her flowers and exploring the many hiking trails of Western Colorado with Jeff and Willis. She loved to hike and cross-country ski and was a regular at water aerobics and exercise classes around the valley. Elisa knew everybody and she was interested in everybody. She stopped to talk to everyone she met, and she wanted to hear all about your job, your garden, your kids and your grandkids.
Elisa was a fabulous cook, and some of her happiest times were spent preparing wonderful meals for her friends and family, as well as in local restaurants, including the Boardwalk in Crawford, and Casa Restaurant in Paonia. She partnered with her dear friend Eleni Stelter for several years where they totally raised the bar for great food in the North Fork Valley at Eleni's Uptown in Paonia and Downtown in Hotchkiss. With particular devotion to Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines, cooking and eating good food was almost like a religion to Elisa. After her restaurant adventures, she worked for Red Hat Produce in Austin, CO, and most recently was a long-time valued employee of Big B’s Fabulous Juices in Hotchkiss, CO. Elisa was a hard worker all her life, and she was always busy. She trotted through life and seldom slowed down to a walk.
Elisa served on numerous boards in the community, including KVNF Community Radio, the North Fork Area Planning Committee, Hotchkiss Memorial Hall board of directors and the Delta County Federal Credit Union board of directors.
Elisa is survived by her husband Jeff, son Willis Reynolds and his partner Jessie Clasen of Flagstaff, Arizona, sisters Paula Ota and her husband Ed Ota, Jr. of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and Donna Greco and her husband Bob Hoffman of Brooklyn, New York, and brother Joseph Greco Jr. and his wife Dee Greco of Hartford, Connecticut. Also surviving are nephews and their families Tad and Fran Ota of Coatesville, PA and children Maggie and Joey, Ed III and Alicia Ota of Jacksonville, NC and children Abby and Alex, and Nate Ota of Malvern, PA.
Elisa was preceded in death by her parents.
A celebration of Elisa's life will be held on Sunday, June 12th, 2022, at 5 pm at Big B's Delicious Orchards in Paonia.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Elisa's memory are suggested. Her favorite charities included Planned Parenthood, environmental and social justice causes, and KVNF Community Radio in Paonia, CO.
Photo credit: Mary Hockenberry