Alice L. Bassett, 95, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, formerly of Tryon and San Jacinto, California, passed away Jan. 30, 2017, in Colorado Springs.
Born Alice Lucile Priest on May 27, 1921, to Hugh M. Priest and Louelva Connell Priest Hatch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Alice was the oldest of five siblings.
Alice was a third generation of pioneers to McPherson County, her maternal grandfather having been Michael Anthony Connell, the first homesteader in this part of the country to file a tax return on settled land.
She lived on her parents’ ranch near Hans Peak, Colorado, until the age of 5, then relocated with her parents back to their home counties of Hooker and McPherson in Nebraska in 1926.
She attended rural schools, but times were hard in the ’30s and even though with her brother, Hermel, and Gordon, her future husband, she scored among the top three in eighth grade exams out of 22 tested, she, by necessity, went to work on ranches as a house girl, cooking and cleaning and caring for newborn babies. During this time, she cared for 14 newborns and new mothers, many of the babies her younger cousins. It was her lifelong regret that she had not been able to attend and graduate high school.
At age 10, on June 23, 1931, she was baptized, along with other family members and local residents of McPherson and Hooker counties, under the old High Bridge on the Dismal River by an itinerant minister, the Rev. Amos Rundus of Munden, Kansas.
She married Gordon Bassett in 1942 in Mullen, and they purchased a ranch 12 miles north of Tryon. Their two children were born during this time, but in the mid-’50s, depression and dry years forced them out of ranching. They followed relatives to San Jancinto, California, where Gordon worked in a dairy and at heavy construction.
They returned to Tryon in 1960, and Gordon and Alice became editors and publishers of the Tryon Graphic, purchasing it from their brother-in-law, Arthur French. This county newspaper had been in the family since the mid-’40s.
Gordon was appointed to fill out the term of the elected county sheriff and was elected for two more terms. Eventually, the Graphic was sold back to Arthur. During Gordon’s sheriff days, Alice’s job was to run the home base radio.
Several years after Gordon’s death in 1976, Alice sold her ranch land and house in Tryon and moved to Colorado Springs to be near her daughter and grandchildren.
Alice loved to walk, crochet, read, scrapbook, visit with family and neighbors and take care of her grandchildren. Her apple pies were wonderful. It is ironic that Alice was a partner with her husband at printing and publishing, and her last years were enjoyed in the Union Printers Home at Colorado Springs.
Alice’s philosophy of life and living was based on Hebrews 13:5-6: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you. The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”
Alice was preceded in death by her parents; grandparents; stepfather, Elzie Hatch; two brothers, Hermel and Kenneth Priest; Kenneth’s wife, Maxine; a sister and brother-in-law, LaVerne and Doris Neal; brother-in-law, Arthur French; and brothers and sisters-in-law, Wayne and Eva Connell and Leonard and Inez Bassett.
Survivors to love and honor her memory are one son, Kenneth Bassett of Grand Island; a daughter and son-in-law, Sandra (Clifford) Kirkpatrick of Colorado Springs; grandchildren, Clancy R. Nasland of Aurora, Colorado, Dylan and Lora Kirpatrick and family, Jocob, Mia, Isiah, and Gabriel, all of Colorado Springs, Ryan and Abby Kirkpatrick of Denver and Cassidy and Mikey Miles of Security, Colorado; one sister, Audrey French of Alliance, formerly of Stapleton; a sister-in-law, Phyllis Priest of North Platte; uncle and aunt, Lloyd (Cleao) Connell of Tryon; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Memorials are suggested to the church at Miller Cemetery in McPherson County. Online condolences may be shared at adamsswanson.com.
Services will be at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Adams & Swanson Chapel in North Platte. Burial will be at Miller Cemetery in McPherson County next to her husband, parents and numerous extended family. Visitation will be from noon to 9 p.m. today, Feb. 1, at Adams & Swanson Funeral Home, which is in charge of arrangements.