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1923 Lela 2020

Lela Helen Ala (Ross)

August 15, 1923 — June 8, 2020

Lela Helen Ala

August 15, 1923 – June 8, 2020

Lela H. Ala passed away of natural causes June 8, 2020, at Valley Manor Care Center, Montrose, CO.  She was the youngest of three siblings born August 15, 1923 in Redvale Colorado to Charles Errett Ross and Helen Lenore (Scott) Ross. She was raised in Redvale, graduated from Norwood High School, attended Western State College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music, voice and education in 1944. Lela was employed as a kindergarten, third grade and Jr. High teacher in Montrose for five years before switching to legal secretary work for the next 12 years.

She married Edwin W. Ala November 1,1958, and three years later retired from the law offices to concentrate on her true calling as church organist, pianist, choir and handbell director, organ & piano teacher, accompanist, and vocalist at life celebrations. She spent 20 years as music director of the Montrose Presbyterian church before moving to organist, pianist, and handbell director at the United Methodist Church. She substituted as pianist at the Hillcrest Congregational Church and the Episcopal Church and was pianist for and honorary member of the Montrose Rotary club for almost 50 years. Lela was a long-term Board member and secretary of the Delta Montrose Community Concert Association, and a loyal supporter of the Valley Symphony.  She freely gave of her time to play piano at area Care Facilities and the Senior Center.  Lela had perfect pitch and played by ear.  She delighted in playing any tune requested and was adept at adjusting the key to the singer.

One of the defining events of Lela’s life was surviving and learning to cope with the aftermath of polio at the age of twelve. This experience, combined with growing up in a small farming community during the depression, helped to create a special affinity for damaged and broken things, and a compulsion to save, use and reuse everything.  Lela loved birds and at one time had as many as forty canaries and foundlings in her home.  She was a student of the I AM movement as a young woman, and spirituality and positive affirmations were a deep and abiding focus for her.  Although she and Edwin had no children of their own, Lela was a long time member of the Save the Children Foundation and both helped support and corresponded with a number of children around the world.  She will be forever remembered for her sweet voice, ready smile, her love of all things musical, her infectious giggle, love of teasing, and focus on the positive.

Lela was preceded in death by her parents, brother Charles Ross and sister Elsie Ross Brown, and husband Edwin.  She is survived by nephew Timothy Charles Brown, nieces Melinda Brown Donovan and Eva Brown Jenkins, and grand nieces and nephews Rosemary Donovan Rourke, Kerry Donovan Norton, Brian Brown, David Ross Brown, Cassarah Brown, Charles Donovan, Lucy Curtis and Leah Curtis as well as eight great grand nieces and nephews.  As well, her unofficial “daughters” Bettye Hooley, Connie Pittenger, Cynthia Harwood, Bonnie Beach and Robin Berndt are celebrating her release, and giving thanks for the opportunity to have basked in her sweet light.  There is no memorial service planned at this time.


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