Deirdre (Dee) Ruth (Engels) Gorman passed away October 26, 2021, at the age of 74. Dee was born March 9, 1947, in Boston, Massachusetts to Marjorie and Richard Engels. She is survived by her husband Kenneth Gorman; sisters Sabra Feddema, Raysa Carlson, Michelle Easley, and Pam Goodrich; and brothers Judson Engels and Raymond Engels. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Lena Engels. She was the proud mother of four children: Charo Rhodes (Casey); Richard Cole (Jen); Sean Gorman-Orozco (Bryan); and Antoine “Rocky” LaVoie. Additionally, she was an amazing grandmother to six grandchildren: Taaz Doherty; Jesse Rhodes; Joseph Rhodes; Jake Rhodes; Adelaide Cole; and Miles Cole.
Dee grew up in Cranford, New Jersey and Mozart, West Virginia before moving to Tujunga, California in her early teens. She graduated from Verdugo Hills High School and went on to study at the Los Angeles County General Hospital School of Nursing where she earned her degree to become a Registered Nurse. Soon after, she married Cecil Cole and started a family. However, they later separated. Later, Dee continued her education earning a bachelor’s degree in Business from Cal State Los Angeles.
Despite not picking her for a volleyball game – which she consistently reminded us through the years - Dee ended up marrying the love of her life Kenneth Gorman in June of 1977. There was so much humor expressed in that story of the volleyball game every time it was told, because it was truly an outlier in the love story they told together. Ken and Dee were more than just a couple - they were a team. They constantly supported each other through challenging times, and jointly celebrated the joyful moments as well. After getting married in California, and adding Sean to the family, they eventually moved to Wisconsin and Minnesota before settling in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1999. Their love for God always kept them faithful to one another that created the basis of their desire to be leaders and mentors to those around them - whether it was in church, family or in the community. Throughout Dee’s career as a registered nurse and several various roles - she always had a passion to teach. She taught in the nursing programs at Front Range Community College and the Community College of Denver.
With the love of God in mind, Dee’s voice, big heart and willful desire to help others were the foundational pillars she wanted to instill in her family. As the glue that will forever keep this family together, she brought forth traditions and values made from the love that poured from her heart. She made it well-known to us all that love is endless and everlasting - which is apparent now more than ever.
Her desire to give was seen in her support of many charities. At Westminster Presbyterian Church, she began the mission project, The Teacher’s Closet. The project collects supplies and funds for teachers working in the less fortunate schools of the community. The holiday season was her favorite time of year. Dee enjoyed expressing her love to friends and family with homemade gifts and ornaments. She was also an artist of many talents. She loved to paint, craft ornaments or design jewelry by hand. She signed her gifts and artwork with love by always inscribing the date that she crafted your gift, but also to note when she was thinking of you the most.
Dee was a singer and composer of music from an early age. She was always involved with choirs or music programs throughout her life. Over the years she sang with the Rainbow Chorus, Colorado Women of Song and any church choirs she attended. When she wasn’t singing in the choir - she had a bell in hand that she played continuing her love of music. She wrote and composed many songs throughout her life including “Mary’s Lullaby”, “Spirit of God” and “Go Out with God’s Blessing”. As a member of the Presbyterian Church, she served as Moderator of the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks, a Member of Counsel, Chair of the Nominating Committee and was also a member of the Committee on Ministry.
Her father always encouraged her to “stand up and be counted’, and Dee was not afraid to make her voice heard. Though she is no longer with us, the impact her voice has had on all our lives will keep her soundly within our hearts.
Dee always kept a positive outlook on life. She always maintained an evolving list of desires and goals she wanted to accomplish. Dee was adamant that there was no such thing as an “unrealistic goal” if one had hope and their God-given faith to stay determined.
Our angel is now guiding us all to live our lives to the fullest. We have all grown to love her determined voice, and it will live on forever in each of us. She would want us to keep in mind that no matter how far away your goal may seem - never give up. Keep moving forward and share your love with those you have in your lives.
Written by –
Grandson, Joey Rhodes
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