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Gloria Kirkpatrick represents an eclectic Falcon population

Falcon of the old days – when it was really the country – attracted an eclectic group of individuals. Gloria Kirkpatrick moved to Falcon in the mid-1970s. She represents many of the long-time Falconites whose accomplishments, experiences and interests are as varied as the shadows of the setting sun on any given evening.Kirkpatrick is a Nichiren Buddhist, a former licensed practical nurse and a former Realtor. Today, she makes a living as a sought-after seamstress.Her eclectic past includes a mix of places she has called home.Kirkpatrick’s first home was in Evansville, Ind., where she was born. She was raised in Detroit, Mich., where she graduated from high school in 1958. Post high school, Kirkpatrick attended secretarial school but found long hours at a desk a bit too confining.In 1960, she married an Army man. A popular band of that era, the Spinners, was good friends with both and attended their wedding reception.Throughout the 13 years her husband was in the Army, the two lived in many states. Kirkpatrick recalled that one of her favorites was Alaska, about 90 miles north of Fairbanks. Kirkpatrick said the base was so remote that wildlife abounded and often wandered near their quarters. “One time we looked up and a buffalo was looking in the window at us.”Kirkpatrick has fond memories that include getting together with other military families for “jam, beer and cards.” The cold weather often froze the outdoor activities, which challenged her five children – two girls and three boys (including a set of fraternal twins). “The kids hooked up our German Shepherd, Rinny, to a sled and she took them for rides,” Kirkpatrick said.”Pretty soon lots of kids in the neighborhood had hooked up their dogs.”Kirkpatrick’s husband was eventually assigned to Fort Carson. In 1969, she attended nursing school at Penrose Hospital, and, in 1970, graduated as an LPN with the last class of the hospital nursing program. Kirkpatrick worked as a nurse for 15 years at Colorado Springs hospitals. She also worked at the Union Printers Home and spent seven years in civil service at Fort Carson’s hospital, where she worked with patients suffering from Agent Orange poisoning.Kirkpatrick and her first husband divorced in 1974 when their children were between the ages of 5 and 13. Kirkpatrick had custody of the two girls, and, as a single mom, her nursing career supported the family.In 1974, Kirkpatrick met Elmer Kirkpatrick in an apartment complex where both lived. He was stationed at the “mule barn” – where Fort Carson stores its tanks. Elmer Kirkpatrick got her attention when he cleaned the snow off her car in the winter. They married in 1976, and had two more children.Elmer Kirkpatrick is a two-time Viet Nam veteran who served on active duty from 1969 to 1976, after which he served in the National Guard until 1989. In 1987, while working on a steel-frame building, he fell and injured his back, disabling him.In 1986, the Kirkpatricks moved to Falcon, and their three youngest children graduated from Falcon High School.From 1980 to 1988, Kirkpatrick had a second career, overlapping her nursing career, as a real estate agent. Then, from 1988 to 1997, she worked for Current. Tired of the commute, she started Custom Sewing by Gloria. She’s realized success by doing general sewing, alterations for prom and wedding gowns, custom clothing and window treatments. She also works with interior designer Marcia McNeese, owner of Mountain Images Interiors.Kirkpatrick also is active with Loose Threads, a group specializing in machine embroidery. The group began about eight years ago and today has almost 20 members. Each year, they choose a project to support a cause. In the past, those projects have included making comfort caps for chemotherapy patients, walker bags for nursing home patients and comfort quilts for abused children. This year, the group is making aprons for volunteers who work at the Kevin Patrick Caleum (KPC) Center, a year-round free daycare center named after an abused child. The center allows stressed-out mothers a short-term reprieve.Kirkpatrick has been a Nichiren Buddhist for the past 29 years. Although raised in the Baptist Church, she had many friends of other religions and often attended their services. “Many of my questions were unanswered,” she said. So, a “seeking spirit” in her early 20s, she looked to other religions for those answers. She became a follower of Nichiren Buddhism, which teaches that life rules by cause and effect and individuals taking responsibility for their own actions.Between sunrise and sunset, it’s a full life for Kirkpatrick.More on that lifeFavorite places?Places I haven’t been, but I’d like to go: New Zealand, Old England, some places in Africa.Why did you and your family move to Falcon?In the mid-70s there was a movie called “Wilderness Family” that inspired us to move to the country. A friend in real estate showed us Falcon. This area was country, but still convenient to town.How do you want to be remembered?I ask myself that question nearly daily. I want to be remembered as a person who listens with her heart and acknowledges that suffering is part of life. Suffering is the calisthenics that you use to grow stronger, not to defeat you.Where are the kids now?Geno owns Double G Carpet Care Specialists in Colorado Springs. Travis (one of the twins) recently returned from Iraq, and is in the Army in Texas. Larry is a graphic artist for an advertising firm in California. Gabrielle is an award-winning interior designer in Federal Way, Wash. Mavis (the other twin) is an Adelphia service representative in Colorado Springs. Rae Ann is a night auditor for Amerihotels in Colorado Springs. Megan lives in Broomfield, Colo., and attends Westwood College of Aviation Technology, learning to repair and maintain airplanes.

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