Nadia Nadine Brelje, 64, passed away July 5, 2011. Survived by her sister, Moneen (James) Ahlquist of Great Falls, Mont.; two nieces, one nephew and their families. Preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Esther Brelje; and sister, Allegra Aletha Brelje. Nadia was born Aug. 13, 1946, in Bismarck, N.D. She graduated from Missoula County High School, Missoula, Mont., in 1964, and attended the University of Montana graduating with a degree in zoology . She earned a MS degree in entomology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was an accounting technician for the Colorado Lottery. She thoroughly enjoyed her job and looked forward to going to work every day from the time she began in 1983 until her retirement in 2004. Nadia loved photography, travel and the great outdoors. She especially enjoyed hiking. She climbed all 54 of Colorado's 14, 000 foot peaks and conquered 31 of them twice! She wrote three editions of trail guides that highlight Colorado's southern front-range, Southern Front Range Trail Guides one and two with the third edition to be published in the near future. Nadia bestowed the rights of the third edition to the Pueblo Mountain Park Environmental Center. MPEC will be responsible for the third publication. She was also a member of Colorado Mountain Club. Service, 11 a.m. Friday, July 8, 2011, in the Montgomery & Steward Chapel. Interment, Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Missoula, Mont. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mountain Park Environmental Center or Sangre de Cristo Hospice through Montgomery & Steward Funeral Directors, 1317 N. Main St., Pueblo, CO 81003. Online condolences,

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  1. I heard about Nadia’s death today, and I’m shocked and sad.
    We met when my mother was dying of cancer in Pueblo. Nadia’s mother had just passed away, and she phoned to ask about my mom. She mentioned she’d been present when her own mom died, and described it as so deeply moving and peaceful, I asked her to come tell my mother, who was having a hard time. Nadia thought I was nuts: “Right, I’m supposed to go tell a dying woman how great it is to die?” But she came, and when Mom asked about it, Nadia told her everything. Later Mom told another friend how much Nadia’s description had helped her. She seemed much more at peace after that.
    Nadia and I became good friends, and she was like an aunt to my kids. I moved to northern Colorado but we visited each other often for seven years, camping together, sharing holidays, etc. Nadia even traveled with us to Korea, her first overseas trip. She was an amazingly generous, caring friend, always giving, very thoughtful.
    Then we moved away, and Nadia and I had a big disagreement about politics. It was a tragic, stupid way to lose a friendship. I tried a couple times to reconnect later but never heard back from her. I must have hurt her too much, or maybe she felt we were just too different.
    This past July I had a sudden urge again to connect with her. (I realize now that this was a couple weeks after she’d died.) I started writing a draft of a letter. This is how far I got before something pulled me away:
    “Dear Nadia, As I was washing dishes this morning you came VERY strongly to mind, and I spent the entire time not only remembering specific things we did but also deeply appreciating who you are, the way you see things, and how you take hold of your life and work to build what you want to have. And of course I was remembering the amazing role you played in our lives when we lived in Colorado — and even in Korea! That was so daring and generous of you to make the trip there!”
    Enjoy heaven, Nadia — you’ve more than earned it.

  2. Nadia was just the best. She was smart and feisty and loving and interesting..the adjectives just go on and on. Our condolences to her devoted and loving family. We will miss her Christmas letters, which were the highlights of the season. We learned of her travels and friendships through those letters–and were entertained. We are so sad and yet appreciative of the time we had with her, in person and through mail and email.
    Again, our thoughts are with her loving and supportive family. You all are the best and we appreciate all you did for her, and so for us.

  3. Sorry to hear of Nadias passing, she was a terrific lady. I had in my home room for 4 years. She was always on a roll and she helped with some of my homework (math).Sweet dreams Nadia.

  4. Nadia was my best friend in high school. We spent such happy times – floating the Bitterroot in a yellow raft, water skiing, the Arlee Pow Wows, hiking the Bitteroot range camping in old trappers cabins, horse heaven and beyond, driving in my truck to Coeur D’Alene for the regatta… She was always up for anything. Scott Smith caught her perfectly – “a cheerful, energized woman with an easy laugh and a mountain sprite’s spirit.” We crossed paths recently in Breckenridge and rekindled our friendship through letters and emails. Happy Trails Nad. And as Scott said so well (thanks Scott) – “I hope that her version of the afterlife includes towering peaks, forever views, roaring rivers, pine-swathed forests, splattering waterfalls, purple-blue skies and plenty of the wild animals she appreciated and respected. And in the middle of the majesty will be Nadia, walking a trail, enjoying the moment and taking meticulous notes, so that others may follow.”

  5. I met Nadia when I started at the Lottery. She was such a wonderful person! Always smiling and cheerful, ready to lend a hand with whatever you needed. She will always be remembered at the Lottery; her photographs of Colorado scenes hang throughout the current office on 3rd St. I will always remember her beautiful soul and upbeat attitude.

  6. I was so sorry to hear of Nadia’s passing. She was truly and genuinely a kind, giving spirit. I so enjoyed working with her at the Colorado Lottery for nearly two decades. I’m sure she is in heaven helping to plan hikes for the angels!

  7. I met Nadia when she worked in the Wells Fargo Building for Lottery. She talked about hiking and the books she wrote on hiking. I bought one of her books and I do not even hike. Nadia made it sound so wonderful. I am sorry for the loss.

  8. Hadia and family – We are deeply sorry to learn of Nadia’s passing. She fought the good fight. Nadia was very dear to all of us and we’ll miss her.

  9. Nadia and family, We met in the early 1980’s when we worked together at DoRay in Colorado City and have continued to see each other about twice a year—boy, did we talk fast to make up for lost time. Those times and memories I will cherish about you and those wonderful Christmas letters. May you continue with your journey and enjoy it to the fullest. I remember meeting your Mother–“Hi to Mom!”. Thanks for including us in your wonderful life experiences. Friends always, Adele Clermont

  10. To all Nad’s family and friends,
    She was a towering spirit so like the mountains she loved. She swept us into the Ahlquist family in her own wonderful way. We first met at Megan and Eric’s wedding. Not the least disturbed by the chemo, she was the hit of the party and took the most exquisite wedding photo’s which we will all treasure forever. You will be missed, but remembered, at all the beach parties and family gatherings to come. Our hugs go to all who knew and loved her.

  11. Precious Nadia! Oh, how you will be missed. I remember when you came to Paul’s Memorial Service in January and you said you thought for sure you would beat him to heaven. I will forever cherish our memories of San Isabel and the talks and lunches on our deck. Tell Paul hello and I’ll see you both soon.

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