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Madeline Catherine Hyatt


Madeline Catherine Hyatt passed away at the age of 89, on January 28, 2014 in Logan, Utah. She was born November 21, 1924 in Leadville, Colorado to Henry J. Smith and Madeline Smith, the youngest of four children. Her father was a Forest Ranger, his career starting soon after the U.S. Forest Service’s inception in the early 1900s. She grew up in the mountains of Colorado going to schools in Lake City, Delta and Fort Collins. Madeline’s brothers, Frank and Jack, as well as her cousin Frank, also pursued careers as Forest Rangers with the U.S. Forest Service.

After graduating from Fort Collins High School, and while attending Colorado State University, she met her future husband, Melvin Hyatt on a blind date. He was also a student at Colorado State and happened to be majoring in forestry. They were married October 19, 1947 and Madeline then continued her life in the mountains with Melvin, working for the U.S. Forest Service.

Their first home was the remote Indianola Ranger Station on the Main Salmon River, 60 miles from Salmon, Idaho. After seven years and three children, they moved to the Freedom Wyoming Ranger Station. After three years and the addition of another child, the family was transferred to the Challis, Idaho Forest headquarters. In 1964, after seven years and the addition of one more child, the family was transferred to Ogden, Utah. They spent 10 years in Ogden sending all but the youngest off to college. In 1974, Madeline, Mel and their youngest son transferred to Albuquerque, New Mexico where Mel retired from the Forest Service five years later. Their youngest son followed in Mel’s footsteps attending Colorado State University in forestry. Madeline and Mel decided to spend their retirement years traveling and living near friends and family in Fort Collins. They relocated to Logan, Utah in May 2010. In early 2011, Madeline lost Mel, the love of her life and her soul mate.

During 63 years of marriage, Madeline gave birth and raised five children, often caring for them alone while Mel was away on Forest Service work projects and fighting forest fires. She was kept busy caring for her family, her home, spending time with her many great friends and cheering on her children at various sports and school events. She later traveled around the U.S. and even to Denmark to cheer on her grandchildren at their sporting events.

Madeline enjoyed traveling, visiting with her friends and family, attending Colorado State University Rams sporting events and was an avid reader, while she could. She visited Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Denmark, Canada, Hawaii and made numerous trips to Alaska. She also enjoyed spending winters in Borrego Springs, California.

Over the years she developed significant macular degeneration and Parkinson’s disease. She continued to persevere with courage and wit telling those close to her, “Getting old is not for sissies.” She was never a sissy but an inspiration to her family and friends. Her wit and sweet smile were there till she passed.

Madeline was preceded in death by her husband Melvin; sister Rose Bury (Smith); brothers Frank Smith, Jack Smith; and parents Madeline and Henry Smith. She leaves behind her daughter Patricia (Hyatt) Murray and Dennis Murray of Logan, Utah; sons Cliff Hyatt and Audrey Jorgenson of Anchorage, Alaska; Ken and Pat (Norton) Hyatt of Challis; Jim and Leland (Lawder)Hyatt of Evergreen, Colorado; and Jeff Hyatt of Salida, Colorado. She also leaves behind seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held February 7 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fort Collins Colorado with Rosary the preceding evening at Bohlender Funeral Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at https://www.michaeljfox.org/ Church Street Station, P.O. Box 780, New York, NY 10008-0780.

Madeline’s family offers a special thanks to all of her caregivers and friends at the Legacy House of Logan.

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