Mary Elizabeth (Kirkpatrick) Moorman Dailey
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Mary Elizabeth Kirkpatrick was born March 16, 1918 in Oklahoma City. She was the only daughter of Dr. Elmer Ellsworth and his wife Mrs. Helene Claudia (Spencer) Kirkpatrick of Oklahoma City. She was the youngest sibling of their five children including her four brothers: Spencer, Elmer, John and Claude.
She attended McKinley Elementary School and her first three years of high school at Central High School, both in Oklahoma City. She then moved to New York to live with her brother Elmer E. Kirkpatrick, Jr., his wife Edith Luise “Edie Wee” (Koelsch) and their family, where she graduated from Highland Falls in 1935. Following graduation she was offered a scholarship to Cornell University and also won first place in a New York typing contest.
That same year Mary moved back to Oklahoma City to help her mother care for her father, who was suffering from a heart condition. During that time she was employed by the Oklahoma Tax Commission at the State Capitol.
After Dr. Kirkpatrick’s death, in March 1936, arrangements were made to sell the family home in Oklahoma City. Mary described this as a very difficult time because she had always been her father’s “special girl.” A warranty deed signed by her father and dated February 18, 1932 was filed on April 16, 1936 deeding the Kirkpatrick Family cabin in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado to Mary.
She went back to live with Elmer and his family at the United States Military Academy, West Point where Elmer was assigned to construction and expansion of the Academy. In the fall of that year Elmer began Quartermaster School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, moving his family and Mary there also. In Philadelphia she entered Drexel Institute of Technology in the School of Home Economics and majored in foods and nutrition. She was still afforded a visit to West Point once a month on weekends, and it was there that she met John Dean “J. D.” Moorman from Idabel, Oklahoma.
Mary received a scholarship to continue her studies at Drexel in the fall of 1937, but that summer Elmer and his family were transferred to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and Mary went with them.
Mary and J.D. were married on June 15, 1938 at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey following his graduation from the United States Military Academy, West Point. The marriage ceremony possibly took place in the living quarters of Elmer and Edie Wee, followed by their honeymoon at the Kirkpatrick Family cabin in Colorado.
The first military assignment for J. D. was flight training at the Army Air Corps Randolph Field, Texas, near San Antonio where Mary was able to be with him. After receiving his flight wings at nearby Kelly Field, J. D. entered the Air Corps, and he was transferred to France Field, Canal Zone in Panama. Again, Mary was able to accompany him. In 1940 their daughter, Claudia Nell was born in Colón, Republic of Panama. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, J. D. was immediately called away to the U.S. Southern Command headquarters in Quarry Heights, on the opposite side of the Panamanian isthmus.
Mary and her daughter returned to Oklahoma City in January 1942 and rented an apartment where they and her mother, Claudia Kirkpatrick, lived. J. D., who was a Captain by now, was given leave in May, and he, Mary and their daughter visited his family in Idabel before he returned to Panama. Summer vacation for Mary, Claudia and “Mother” Claudia was spent at the family cabin in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado.
In October 1942 Mary and Claudia were reunited with J. D. when he returned from Panama as a Lieutenant Colonel and was assigned as Commanding Officer of the Casper Air Base in Wyoming. They were soon transferred in February 1943 to Dyersburg Army Air Base, Tennessee where J. D. was promoted to Colonel and was Commanding Officer. Mary delivered their son, Michael in September in nearby Ripley, Tennessee where their home was established. In November of that year Mary and J. D. took a short vacation to New York to spend Thanksgiving with Elmer and Edie Wee Kirkpatrick and their children. While there they stayed at the Astor Hotel, and they saw the initial run of the Broadway musical, “Oklahoma.” While in New York, Mary and J. D. also saw Claude Kirkpatrick who was on his way to Florida.
J. D. received orders in March 1944 for Flight Commander of the Mediterranean Group Headquarter in Italy. He was in the 2nd Bomb wing of 15th Air Force. Mary and the children moved to a small rent house that Frank Cusack, a family friend, had helped them find in Cascade, Colorado until they could open the family cabin at Green Mountain Falls. During the winter Mary was hospitalized with pneumonia and the children temporarily lived with the Cusack family in Casacade. When Mary was released from the hospital she also stayed with the Cusack’s until warmer weather when they moved to the cabin. Edie Wee and Terry Kirkpatrick were summer guests at the cabin. That fall Mary located a house to rent in Colorado Springs where she, her children and her mother lived.
On December 10, 1944 Mary received a telegram notifying her that J. D. died following an accident on December 8. At the age of 31 he was buried at the United States Military Cemetery at Bari, Italy. Several commendations and decorations were awarded to Colonel Moorman posthumously, including the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation accompanying the medal stated it was awarded “for extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as pilot of a B-17 type aircraft.” It also stated, “On 18 November 1944 Col. Moorman led a wing formation on a bombing mission against vital enemy strategic installations in Austria.”
During the months to follow Mary considered attending business school and also took the Civil Service examination. Instead, she began the 1945 fall semester at Colorado A & M (now Colorado State University) at Fort Collins, Colorado, where she met James “Jim” Dailey. She graduated in 1947 in the top five percent of her class with a degree in nutrition.
She married Jim on March 22, 1947 in Fort Collins. Mary participated in research on high altitude cooking at the college while Jim was completing his degree in Forestry. Following his graduation they moved to Colorado Springs where their daughter, Kathleen was born in October 1948. In 1951 the family moved to South Dakota where they farmed for about five years and had their second daughter, Dana who was born in 1953. The family then moved to Pampa, Texas where Jim managed oil properties for John E. Kirkpatrick. Mary and her husband also became real estate appraisers. They enjoyed the friendship of many while living in Pampa, including a six couple gourmet club and playing bridge with others. In 1962 her daughter Claudia, who was living with Mary at the time, married Jim Eley in Pampa.
The family returned to Colorado Springs in the summer of 1967. Before resettling they toured the state of Colorado and enjoyed sightseeing and fishing around Ouray, Silverton and Lake George. After the summer, Kathleen and Mike entered Colorado State University and Dana began junior high.
Mary and Jim waited a year before purchasing a house they wanted as their home at 2660 Chelton Road. Mary worked at Precision Electric Company during the next four years. She then was able to quit work outside the home and enjoy the greenhouse they built above their carport. Mary first specialized in tuberous begonias, and other times she would grow tropical plants. Several years later her greenhouse specialty was orchids.
After a few more years Mary worked in her husband’s real estate appraisal office, which he had moved to their home in 1980. Mary continued her love of cooking and sometimes would make mincemeat from scratch and brandied peaches along with other favorite foods. She also continued to sew for her grandchildren in addition to designing and stitching her own needlepoint canvases.
Mary and Jim often visited his sister and her husband in Fort Collins and Poudre Canyon or went with them to British Columbia for fishing trips. In addition to being relatives, they were also their closest friends.
In 1982, at the request of her brother John, Mary wrote a short autobiographical sketch which she concluded by writing, “It is fall and I am at the cabin. The leaves are falling from the mountain maples, the purple asters are blooming, the aspen are beginning to turn gold, and very few birds are left around. I just got back from a walk along the stream and at 65 I’m not as surefooted and limber as I once was. All I have to leave to my exceptional dearly loved children and grandchildren is their heritage, my love, and my beloved cabin.”
James Dailey died March 10, 1989 in Colorado Springs. Mary remained in Colorado Springs at their home until October 1, 1998 when she sold the house and moved to a retirement home, “The Village at Skyline” in Colorado Springs. Six years later she moved to an assisted living facility, Sunrise of Colorado Springs, near the home she and her family had originally lived in between 1948 to 1952.
Other than for a few years when Jim was very ill at home, Mary stayed at her cabin in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado during the summers, enjoying visits by family and friends. Mary was 87 years old when she died December 24, 2005 at her home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.