Salidan Velda Marie Mitchell Counter, 85, died June 30, 2021, with her family by her side.
She was born Feb. 25, 1936, in Nogales, Arizona, to Donald Ernest “Ernie” Mitchell and Ruth Berkley Mitchell (Knickerbocker).
In December 1947 the family moved to Salida.
She was a 1954 graduate of Salida High School.
She enjoyed planning three class reunions, starting with the 50-year reunion and ending with the 65th in 2019.
She married Robert G. “Bob” Counter in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The couple had four children.
Mrs. Counter worked at various jobs. She owned and operated her own hair salon, Velda’s Beauty Boutique, in Salida for 30 years, retiring in 2000.
While raising their children she became active in Boy Scouts, Shavano Indian Dancers, Campfire Girls and Rainbow Girls.
She was a talented seamstress and often created uniforms, dresses and suits or made alterations.
Her son Don fondly remembers when the Boy Scouts were on a 50-mile hike and she volunteered to drive supplies into various locations during their hike.
She often would transport home any scout who thought they could not continue on with the group.
On one rendezvous a scout was trying to talk Don into stopping and going home. Don told him, “You can quit but there is no way I’m taking that Jeep ride home with her if I give up.”
She and her husband spent weekends taking the Jeep out with four kids and a dog or two, camping at many locations enjoying nature.
Members of her family had been in the area since the early 1900s, and she shared her knowledge of the history in Salida and surrounding areas with anyone who would listen.
Friends and family said Mrs. Counter was “feisty” to the end.
Grandchildren Mike McFarland and Lisa McFarland Patterson and great-grandchildren Elisia Patterson and Lizzy McFarland were with her in her final days.
Mrs. Counter was preceded in death by her husband; parents; daughter Dianna McFarland; son-in-law Larry McFarland; mother-in-law, Hazel Counter; father-in-law, Perley Counter; sister, Doris Sabo; and sister-in-law, Alice Counter.
Survivors include her children Don (Peg) Counter of Muskego, Wisconsin, James Counter of Camp Verde, Arizona, and Janette (Don) Blake of Salida; nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; constant companion dog Mattie, who Mrs. Counter adopted from Ark-Valley Humane Society; favorite grand-dogs Scooter and Bella; and “slightly less-favored” cats Missy and Molly Blake.
No services are planned at this time. Friends are asked to “lift a glass” in her honor.
The family will celebrate her life in a private gathering at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Christmas Mountain USA, as she was proud to be one of the first donors many years ago; Ark-Valley Humane Society, as she was a lifelong dog owner and reluctantly owner of two cats; or to the blood bank of the donor’s choice, as she had received blood donations to sustain her life the last few years.
Arrangements are with Lewis and Glenn Funeral Home in Salida.
Online condolences may be offered at www.lewisandglenn.com.