Rhea Lucille Delorme Kness

Rhea Lucille Delorme Kness passed away peacefully on Oct. 3 at Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale.

Kness was born Feb. 25, 1930 to Francois and Margaret (Jollie) Delorme on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She was the youngest of five children.

In the mid-1950s she moved to Ignacio, which is on the Southern Ute Reservation in Colorado. There she worked for the U.S. Indian Agency in the dining hall for the boarding schools. She raised her three daughters Margaret (Danny) Pacheco, Cindy (Tony) Svatos and Pam (Gary Link, deceased) Atencio for many years in Ignacio before moving to Leadville.

While in Leadville she owned and operated Rhea’s Magic Mirror Beauty Salon. This was during the 1970s, which meant big hair, long hair and wigs. The shop was always lively. Her customers included a wide variety of locals, from Ma Brown and her girls to Sister John and Sister Mary. She was always very stylishly dressed in her matching hats, gloves and shoes.

She married Charles Kness in 1981, and after his retirement from Climax Mine they moved first to Glenwood Springs, then to Rifle and finally to Grand Junction, where they thoroughly enjoyed retirement. After her husband’s death, she moved to Boulder to be close to her daughter Pam.

Kness lived the last years of her life at Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale, which was near her daughter Cindy. While living at Heritage she took up painting, something she had not done for years. The staff at Heritage took wonderful care of her, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though her family was unable to visit in person for a year and a half, they were able to visit through a window. This was extremely difficult for her and her family, yet Heritage took great care of her, for which Kness’ family said they will always be very grateful.

Kness is survived by her children, her granddaughters Dianne (Brian) VanVoorhees and Vanessa (Cody) Self, and great-grandchildren Hudson, Aria, Alyssa, Megan, Trenton and Brooklyn. She is also survived by her grandson Daniel Francis Burns (Miranda Dettmann) and great-granddaughter Tommie Bee. “She welcomed in and loved all her extended family,” her family said.

A small gathering of family and friends will be held in Kness’ memory at the Svatos residence in Glenwood Springs. Cremation has taken place.