Zoa Isabelle McGuire
October 24,1919-December 4, 2019
Zoa Isabelle McGuire moved on to whatever comes next on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. She was born October 24, 1919 to carol and Ercel Carmen (Dickason) McGuire, her parents named her Zoa because she was born on her Aunt Zoa’s birthday, but they called her Isabelle.
She is survived by her life partner, Margaret Duncombe; four siblings from the Duncombe line:Bruce and Sharon Duncombe, Genevieve Duncomb, and Deborah Duncombe; and four cousins, two from the McGuire line,,, Thomas Logan and Willene Parker,
and two from the Dickason line, Cliff and Virginia Dickason. She is also survived by six McGuire Nieces and nephews and six Duncombe nieces and nephews and a somewhat fluid list of in laws and life partners of these twelve; innumerable grand nieces and nephews, two of whom were named after Zoa: Evelyn Zoa McKenzie and Zoa Louise Duncombe.
In addition, she will be fondly remembered by numerous friends: those she picked up at Cherry Creek bar in Denver; those she worked with in a variety of organizations; colleagues from Colorado College.
Zoa began her life in Marion and LaRue Ohio where she graduated from high school in 1937. Following that start she moved to Columbus to be a nurse’s aide and live in the YWCA. Her salary was $40 a month and one meal a day. Remarkably she managed to save money. Living in the YWCA she made life-long friends with whom she traveled around the country during World War II (Ohio to California to Florida to Colorado). These friends called her Belle.
Hospital work did not suit her so she enrolled in a business course which did not suit her either. Through a tenant of her Aunt Zoa she learned about training course with IBM obn the first computers,. She loved the work which consisted of running long rods through the key punch cards to facilitate whatever analyses needed to be done. She started her “computer” career at the military depot in Marion, but continued it as she moved around the country during the war.
From a young age Zoa loved animals, especially dogs. She remembers tying a string around a dog’s necks to get it to follow her home so she could beg her parents to keep the “stray”. When she landed in Denver at the end of the war and started to call herself Zoa one of her travelling companions was a German Shepard. The people from whom she rented a room didn’t want to have a the dog, so she approached boarding kennels in the area, offering to work on Saturday and Sunday in exchange for boarding her dog during the week. Thus began Zoa’s real career with dogs. She learned dog grooming, dog training, and dog showing and when one of the owners decided she wanted to be a veterinarian, she bought into the business. Zoa and her co-owner eventually wanted out of the kennel business and sold her half to Zoa, but the two of them retained co-ownership of the training building which they converted into an upscale restaurant in west Denver. The menu consisted of three choices: chicken breast, lobster tail (16oz size!) or a filet minion steak. All three were served with a potato and a salad with the house dressing. The recipe for the house dressing was a a secret. The only way to get it was to eat at the restaurant or to ask Zoa for supper and she would bring a jar as a hostess gift. Zoa’s life was very full: taking care of the kennel seven days a week, and socializing with her many friends. She did receive a lot of invites to supper and her friends knew there was always a pot of vegetable soup on her stove and a deck of cards ready for a game of bridge (or whatever) on her table.
She met Margi Duncombe at a Valentines Day party in 1968, and they quickly became an item. They enjoyed many things but especially Romanovsky and Phillips concerts; one of their favorite lyric lines was something like”did you rob the cradle or did I rob the rocking chair?” Margi was still in college and then graduate school and Zoa supported her through all that. Once Margi graduated, Zoa followed her to New York and then back to Colorado Springs. She proudly described herself as a “kept woman” when people asked her what she did because but she was hardly idle. She managed rental properties; took classes at PPCC; delivered Thrifty Nickels, a want ad newspaper; she ran a bingo game for the Gay and Lesbian Community Center; she also cleaned a section of US 24; she was a founding member of the Citizens Project and supervised their bulk mailing in its early years. Zoa and Margi chose as “their” song, one they first heard on a Jim Croce CD: “But their never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them. I’ve looked around enough to know that you’re the once I want to go through time with”
Memorial donations can be made to Best Friends Animal Society ( 5001 Angel Canyon Rd PO Box 567 Kanub UT 84741-05667) or Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation (12151 Ave of the Cheifs, Crazy Horse SD 57730-8900)