After a long battle with breast cancer, Gwen Speaks died on March 29, 2007, at the age of 57. Born in Pueblo on November 27, 1949, to Rodney and Marian Townley, she was a graduate of Central High, SCSC, and received her masters' degree from UNC. She is survived by her loving husband of 38 years, Donnie Speaks; daughters, Shannon Speaks (Adam Gazzola), Megan Speaks (Andrew Rodriguez), and Hillary (Matt) Faichnie; father, Rodney D. Townley (Victoria Markowski); brothers, Rick (Meredith) Townley, Rodney M. Townley, and Douglas Townley; granddaughter, Elenore Speaks; numerous loving relatives in her extended family; an extensive network of friends, (and her angel, Germany Cricket). Preceded in death by her mother, Marian Townley. Gwen was a lifelong educator in Pueblo from District 60 to PCC. She had an adventurous spirit and a generous heart, and always spoke of the wonder and joy she found wherever she looked. Gwen was an accomplished bridge player and photographer and read and quilted avidly. She was a passionate cook and an insatiable traveler. Gwen was a source of strength and guidance for everyone who knew her and never lost her incisive sense of humor. She will be missed immensely. Memorial service, 2 p.m., Wednesday, April 4, 2007, at the First United Methodist Church (11th St. & Court). Online condolences, www.montgomerysteward.com

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  1. I am so sorry to have missed Gwen’s service . . . she was always the most gracious, wonderful person to have known . . .I’m sorry also because I would have wanted to give her dad and all her beautiful family and most loving husband and children support . . . my love and prayers always . . . what a tremendous loss but knowing her – she’s prepared her children to be as strong as she had always been . . . I’m deeply sorry . . . I would have liked to have tried to be of help and seen and hugged her just one more time . . . for all her goodness to all she met . . .

  2. To the family of Gwen Speaks:
    I am so sad to learn that Gwen
    passed. She was such a special person. I taught Travel & Tourism with her for one semester at PCC.
    She was very helpful and was always cheerful in directing me.
    Sincerely,
    Mary Ann Rotolo

  3. Gwen and I had an immediate connection-was it an enviable one that others wished to join? Absolutely not- but one that connects people that outsiders can’t possibly understand ! The brief time I knew Gwen will always remain in my heart. My sympathy and best wishes go out to her entire family.

    Margie Hilvitz
    Pueblo, Co.

  4. I hope my friend Gwen will rest in peace. She will be greatly missed.
    I’ll always have a smile on my face when I remember her.

  5. I am so deeply saddened to hear about Gwen’s passing. She was a wonderful example to her daughters and to me. I will always remember her beautiful smile and infectious laugh. Gwen & Donnie always made me feel welcome in their home and their marriage was such a great example to me. Donnie, Megan, Hilary, and Shannon my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Your Friend,

    Stacie (Lambert) Desroches

  6. How do you write about such a wonderful, special friend..there was no person like our Gwennie…she was kind..loving…and so very funny…she was to Char Sullivan Plutt…Patty McPherson Oreskovich….and I a sister of the soul…we will miss her so.

  7. I haven’t seen Gwen in a long time but I went to school with her and have many fun and happy memories. I can’t believe I am writing about a “Girl” so young and vibrant. Time is fleeting and we are all just visiting this earth. Death is only hard from this side. Gwen is having a whale of a time on her side. God bless those left behind. May memories keep you strong and keep Gwen near.

  8. My thoughts and prayers are with Gwen’s family and friends. I went to Jr. High with Gwen and have fond memories of her friendship, smile, and sense of humor. I know she will be greatly missed by all those who knew her and loved her.

  9. Thinking of you at your time of loss and wishing only the best for the family. If there is anything we can do to help you, please call.
    Love,
    Randy & Camie Gottula

  10. My deepest condolences to all of Gwen’s family,my prayers and thoughts are with you.Gwen was a wonderful caring person and teacher she taught me so much about Travel and Tourism and actually made it fun and rewarding.She will be deeply missed.I will miss you Mrs Speaks.

  11. Gwen was a family friend and one of my teachers while attending PCC for travel and tourism. She was a wonderful teacher and inspiration to those she tought. She was patient, kind and always willing to help anyway that she could. Because of Gwen’s encouragement I accepted a position at a resort on Cape Cod shortly after gradution. When my father told be about Gwen’s passing it made me think about how much of a role she played in my decision to go. I am so thankful to Gwen for her inspiration to take such a chance. While working at the resort I met my husband and we now have a beautiful daughter together. So to Gwen, thank you for your kindness, your words of wisdom and your ability to make a difference in all of the lives that you touched.

  12. As a former Puebloan, I met Gwen through my directing and operation of Pueblo Duplicate Bridge for many years. She will always be remembered by me as one first-class lady.

  13. Donnie and family,
    The world is a better place because of Gwen’s love for all her family and friends. I will always be grateful for the opportunity she opened up for me at PCC. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Rose and Don Vest

  14. On behalf of Board of Directors of Unit #367, please accept our sincere condolences on the loss of Gwen. Her membership on the Board of Directors for duplicate bridge will long be remembered. She always gave unstintingly of her time and was always in front to volunteer. I will personally miss her laughter, her common sense and her intelligence. She was a joy to know and play bridge with. All of us will miss her terribly.

    Sincerely,

    Judith Thurston
    President, Board of Directors
    Pueblo Duplicate Bridge

  15. While Gwen if finally relieved of worldly cares, her wonderful husband continues to feel them. For that, I am so sorry. My happiest moments with Gwen were @ Laura’s counter over a glass of wine, sharing stuff, nonsense and truth. While she probably had the most to say, she listened a lot more than she probably should have, giving us gals a chance to expound on a myriad of topics. It truly was a pleasure to be in her company.
    My prayers and thoughts go to your family.
    Donnie, I am planting a Sago Palm in my backyard in her honor, and hope that you will come and sit near it and have a visit with Gwen.
    Sincerely, Jil & Mike Teawalt

  16. IT IS WITH SADNESS, THAT I HEARD THAT GWEN PASSED AWAY, WE WENT TO CENTRAL TOGETHER, AND SHE WAS A VERY SPECIAL FRIEND, SHE WAS FULL OF LIFE, AND ALWAYS KEPT ALL OF US LAUGHING..MY PRAYER ARE WITH HER AND HER FAMILY. CHARM (MIHELICH)DYKEMA

  17. Donnie and family,

    I send all of you my deepest sympathies on the loss of Gwennie. Eventhough we lost touch over the last twenty years, I still have many fond memories of growing up together as little girls, best friends as next door neighbors in junior high and high school, and enjoying watching our kids grow up. I know she fought a tough battle with cancer, and I’m so glad that she is finally at rest.You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Always,

    Cher Robeda

  18. Donnie,
    Maureen and I are so sorry to hear of Gwen’s death. Maureen just realized that she and Gwen were in the same Master’s program. We never made the connection until we saw the funeral notice. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  19. To the Gwen Speaks Family,
    I extend my sincere sympathies to each and every one of you. I am a former student of Gwen’s at PCC. I was classed as an un-traditional student, returning to school after marrying, starting a family and the death of my dear husband and soul-mate. Your precious Gwen made me feel as though I could conquer the world with a better education. I was hesitant at first to continue but with Gwen’s guidance and word’s of encouragement I made it through the full Travel and Tourism Program, even graduating as the Student Senate President, class of May, 1997. I still come across some of the maps we had to color for one of her classes and I can still hear her comments about how neat they always were and why she couldn’t color as neatly as I could and we would just laugh about it. I will forever hold Gwen’s memory in my heart. She was a true beleiver in the underdog and made them feel secure and especially wanted. God Bless each and every one of you as you travel this rough road ahead. Be there for each other and don’t be afraid to shed a few tears along the way. She will be forever watching over each of you, guiding you throughout each of your lives. She will always be remembered as a very special woman to all that she touched or taught. You are in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless!

  20. My Gwen Memories

    When I think of Gwen, I have a slideshow of memories that begins with a new adventure of traveling on a cruise; we are laughing, eating, and learning from Gwen about all the wonderful places to travel in this world.

    In this collage of memories I am with her sitting on her porch, eating, talking, reading, walking, eating, trying to learn bridge, going to lunch, attending a Toby Keith concert, looking at quilts, shopping, eating, talking, laughing, learning, laughing and eating some more and laughing, laughing, laughing with her about life, ironies and just plain funny stuff seen through the eyes of Gwen.

    The first time I saw Gwen was in the Academic Building at PCC. She was walking across the skywalk in that building. I looked up and saw her, she wearing a green sweater, slacks and had big, beautiful hair. Gwen was someone you noticed.

    We always saw each other in that same spot on a regular basis during the time we worked together. We would wave and one of us would say, “Let’s do lunch!”

    Over the years, I have met wonderful people through Gwen. It is because she was a “wonderful people” magnet. Her ability to love, accept and include others in her life was gift that came naturally to her. She was a teacher in the truest sense because she taught from the heart. She taught you more than the subject; she taught you how to become, how to grow and how to want more for yourself. If you paid attention you got it.

    My life has been blessed with her love, friendship, and acceptance. I will miss her every day. But because of Gwen, I will also find something to smile about daily. I will honor her by finding the joy and beauty in the day.

    I loved her like a mother, a sister, and a friend. She is in my heart and is part of me since a time before we knew each other. I look forward to the time we will meet again.

    I love you Don, Shannon, Adam, Meghan, Andrew, Hillary, Matt and Germany Cricket. Your sorrow is mine. I am here for you and lift you up in prayer and thought.

    Your Friend,

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