Della Bridget Goff Archer was born Sept. 27, 1923, in Cortez. She passed away on May 1, 2013, in Blanding, Utah, at the age of 89. Della was the youngest of four children born to John Oliver and Dora Bell Dugan Goff.
Della spent the early years of her life on the homestead south of Cortez where she had many stories of walking and riding a horse to school at Blue Door with her brother, Charlie. She also had many stories about going out with Charlie to check his trapline or hunt rabbits or gather in the goats in the evenings.
She also spent much of her youth in Mancos, where her mother owned a house, and she attended Mancos High School. Della lost her father while she was a small girl and her mother while she was a teenager, resulting in her moving in with her older sister and brother-in-law. She helped to care for her young niece and nephew. She relocated to California with her sister's family.
On Aug. 6, 1941, Della married Dalbert Archer in Reno, Nev. Dalbert was also from the Cortez/Mancos area, having relocated to California also. They worked in a factory in Stockton, Calif., during World War II, refurbishing army trucks and Jeeps to be sent back into action. Della also worked in a laundry in Stockton, where she got very good at folding the "dreaded sheets."
In 1948, they moved to Tracy, Calif., where Dalbert went to work on a bee ranch. In 1956 they moved to their own place where they became full-time bee ranchers. This was an odd line of work for Della as she was allergic to bee stings, but after a series of shots she overcame this obstacle.
In 1960 their only child, Kathy (Kathleen) was born. In 1964, the family expanded their business and relocated to Herald, Calif., where they lived on a 10-acre ranch they shared with Dalbert's brother and his wife. They lived here raising queen bees, selling package bees and pollinating orchards until they decided to retire and move closer to their roots.
In 1978, they sold their operation in California and moved to Monticello, where Dalbert continued his bee operation, only in a scaled-down mode. Della declared herself "retired" and devoted herself to gardening. Della had many hobbies: she loved to crochet, sew, read anything she could get hands on, crossword puzzles and handheld poker games.
One of Della's great joys was gardening with her son-in-law, Ronnie, when he quit driving truck and started working locally. They were quite a formidable pair in the "green thumb" department. She also had a great fear of ants but loved to collect bugs; she would buy plastic bugs and proudly display them in her house. She had developed quite a collection of scorpions displayed in epoxy. These were courtesy of her granddaughter Bridget when she went on vacation with mom and dad in the summers.
Della was known around the area as "the lady with the cute hats." She had many in her collection. It wasn't out of character for her to share her hats with people. Della developed many friendships in Monticello, with the strongest friendship between herself and Shirley Steffen. They continued to be "besties" until the end.
She had another great joy when her granddaughter Bridget, her namesake, was born. She loved to baby sit her while mom worked and felt a huge emptiness when Bridget was old enough to go to school. She was very proud of her when, upon graduation, she became a certified nursing aide. She was overjoyed when her one and only great-granddaughter, Angelica. was born. Della doted on this little one, who had a special place in her heart. She loved all her grandchildren and took great delight in teasing Katie and Shelton about many things.
Della is survived by her daughter, Kathy (Ronnie) Rogers of Monticello; two granddaughters, Bridget Gutierrez of Arizona and Katie (Shelton) Shumway of Blanding; six great-grandchildren, Marshall, Deryl and Colton Shumway and Angelica, Ronnie and A. Dalbert Gutierrez; her brother, Charlie Goff, of Mancos, and her best friend, Shirley (JJ) Steffen of Monticello, plus numerous nieces and nephews.
Della was preceded in death by her parents, John and Dora Goff; her sister, Dora Goff Black, and brother, John Goff, many sisters and brothers-in-law. She is leaving a big void in the lives of those who knew and loved her.
A memorial service will be held on May 18, 2013, at First Baptist Church, Monticello, Utah.