COBWEB CORNERS: Woody: Found at last
By Mel McFarland
This column is about a MYSTERY. In June 2004 I wrote about a friend I had lost track of. First I will repeat part of it. Then I will tell you the last line.
"There is an old fellow I have known since 1962 that I cannot find. His name is Woody. I know some of you know already who I mean. Just in case, here is more.
"Woody is a Westsider, born here some years ago, about 80. He attended Whittier, and that was about it. He went to work for the Midland Terminal, and worked there many years. Later he went to the Rio Grande. I met him in Pueblo, where he janitored at the college. I really got to know him when I was working on my first book on the Colorado Midland. Right off, he set about to get me to write about the Midland Terminal. He was a great help, and rounded up lots of information for me. In fact one whole chapter started off as an eight-hour interview with him. He also started me on a list of employees, which is in the back of the book.
"Once the book came out, it did not stop him. He kept sending me new things he'd found. Anyway, Woody made regular visits to Old Colorado City from his home in Pueblo. He would walk the streets for hours, even up to Manitou. If he saw a familiar house, he would stop for a visit, hoping an old friend was still there. Sometimes it was not the case.
"Word went through friends in Pueblo that he was gone. No one had seen him for weeks. Finally, one friend knocked on his door: 'No, Woody has moved to Colorado Springs.' Then word went out to his friends here, 'Nope, haven't seen him.' Several of us did some searching - shelters, nursing homes and so on. No luck, but the police could take a report. We did not do that; maybe we should have. The cemetery said, 'Sure, he is in Fairview.' But, I already knew he planned ahead, and he is not there."
Well, Woody Ralston passed away a short time ago. I hear he was in a nursing home when he checked out. He was an old-time railroader and Westsider. Now he has been laid to rest at Fairview, overlooking Hoot Sullivan and the dozens of other Midland Men. Goodbye Woody, it was great knowing you.