Shirley Archuleta Siek (1933-2013)

Shirley Archuleta Siek passed from this life in Denver on February 4, 2013. She was 79. Mrs. Siek was a multiple generation Colorado native who grew-up in Silverton and Durango, but had been a Denver resident since 1972. Her loving husband of 40 years, Bob, was with her at passing.

Interior Secretary and former U.S. Senator Ken Salazar called her “a magnetic person and an inspiration to me for 30 years.” Mrs. Siek’s father, Joseph Archuleta, was a union hard-rock miner from the age of 12 in Silverton, laboring for $1.00/day. He died of Black Lung disease at 39. Her mother (Elenore Archuleta) died when Mrs. Siek was 11. She was one of eight children. After her father’s death Mrs. Siek moved to Durango where she became a health professional, including serving as Administrative Director of the San Juan Basin Health Department. Later, she was appointed by Governor Roy Romer to the Colorado State Board of Health. During her years in Durango she raised her first family, was a bowling champion, skier, Toastmistresses State Speaking Champion, member of League of Women Voters, and became active in civic and public affairs. She was an early feminist and civil and equal rights activist.

Upon moving to Denver, Mrs. Siek helped raise her second family, became involved in business and legal affairs, ultimately becoming the business manager for the law firm of Don, Hiller & Galleher. Politically, Mrs. Siek became one of the state’s leading Democratic activists. She served as a national, state, and local party official, serving with the late Geraldine Ferraro on the Democratic National Committee’s National Platform Committee in 1983. She attended numerous State Conventions and was elected a delegate to two National Democratic Conventions in New York (Carter) and San Francisco (Hart). Mrs. Siek was particularly involved in the campaigns of President Jimmy Carter, Gary Hart, Ben Campbell, Gail Klapper, Roy Romer, President Bill Clinton and Ken Salazar. Former Governor Romer stated, “Shirley carried a lot of water for many of us, she will be dearly missed.”

Mr. and Mrs. Siek had a loving and fulfilling union, raising their three children, as well as helping raise their five grandchildren and one great grandchild. They traveled around Colorado, the U.S., Europe, Asia, South America, and the South Pacific. In recent years Mrs. Siek was afflicted with a rare debilitating immune disorder which left her largely home-bound. Mrs. Siek leaves her life partner and soul-mate, Bob; and two siblings, Gregory Archuleta, a former union leader, brother, friend and political ally; and sister Gloria Aragon of Denver. The Sieks have three children; Michael Stratton (Sara) of Denver, Robert D. Siek, Jr. (Terri) of Denver, and Cynthia L. Bates (Dennis) of Colorado Springs. The grandchildren include; Matthew and Sam Stratton, Robi Sclafani, Corey and Colin Bates, and great grandson Elio Sclafani. A private, family service is pending.

“Shirley’s life and work helped to break through many barriers around ethnicity and gender so we can all be who we dream to be… the Shirley Sieks of the world paved the way with tremendous grace and dignity!” said FEMA Regional Administrator Robin Finegan.

In lieu of flowers and gifts, send well wishes to Bob Siek and family at: