Cindy Gustafson, born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania May 21, 1935; passed away peacefully in her sleep on December 3, 2014 in Pagosa Springs, Colorado at the age of 79

On the 2nd day sailing on the Alaska ferry, Wednesday, December 3rd:….. this evening 6 hours southbound from Ketchikan, destination Bellingham, Washington, when I entered my stateroom, I noticed a friend texted me that a dear friend Cindy Gustafson passed away last night in her sleep. I had just finished dinner with new-found friends and was planning on designing the next part of this child-size Chilkat robe; I also planned on finalizing my Power Point Presentation for the Portland Art Museum two nights from now; I was also planning on shaping the best part of my weaving. Oh well, as usual a death of a dear one takes precedence over commitments and goals. I put these all aside. I watched the darkness glide by outside the window for several hours until I laid myself to a still sleep. Without dreams.

Cindy Gustafson was a spunky elder right up there next to my Kate Terry who passed away over five years ago. I loved these gals. Both women were well known in our community; one wrote a “gossip column” for the local newspaper and the other had her own “gossip column” just by being a great listener.

Halloween was the last time I saw Cindy. We were at the monthly WHIPS luncheon (Women Helping In Pagosa Springs). I noticed she looked very radiant as if she were wearing a bit of blush and eyeliner, her bluest eyes sparked like sapphires, ah, but there was no trace of additions; her radiance was of the natural kind. As usual she wanted to know about my love life, my family life, and my business – I told her I was preparing to visit the latest additional grandchildren in Juneau and I was also finishing up the last of my products for the upcoming markets I was planning in Alaska during Thanksgiving weekend, and that I would be out of town until Christmas Eve so I would be missing all of the local holiday events that she had been planning for the community, and that Dan was going to be meeting me in Portland to play a live gig during my Power Point Presentation and that we would be driving back to Colorado together.   She was happy to hear things were going well for me.

Cindy and I always remarked about the other’s attire; we always admired what the other was wearing. That day she was wearing one of her fantastic skirts, the Seminole Indian patchwork skirt I told her that she would willingly will me when she passed…I told her I would cherish the skirt forever and I would tell the world about the wonderful woman who once owned the skirt before me and I would say this with pride. Cindy thought I was a little crazy but I know she forgave me because we shared being Gemini’s which made it all the more reason why we had this common understanding of our character!

Now I imagine wearing that skirt, though I will most likely not inherit it and it is important to note the skirt means more than an object of desire. The skirt represented the passing of a beautiful thing to another with love, respect and honor. Whatever skirt I wear will always remind me of Cindy.

Cindy began the women helping women in Pagosa Springs.  About 4 years ago, when I was still adjusting from several major life changes, I was a recipient of a WHIPS donation.  I will always remember this.  Here’s the link to the WHIPS:

Like our beloved Kate Terry, I will always remember our Cindy Gustafson!