The house is air-conditioned, but with towel in hand, Sheila Kelley wipes sweat from her forehead.
“I haven’t adjusted to the humidity here yet,” she said.
Sheila, 66, and her husband, John, moved from Kiowa, Colorado, to Marion at the end of March, not because they knew the town or had ever seen the house. They bought it sight unseen off an Internet ad after Sheila’s sister checked it out for them. And, they haven’t been disappointed.
“We had the ninth bid on the property, so we were surprised we got it,” Sheila said. “It’s our dream. We love it.”
The Kelleys have family in the Newton-Hesston area, and they were ready to move closer to them but not too close.
“Sheila loves flowers, and she wanted to be in the Midwest, where she could grow them,” John said.
The couple had lived seven miles outside of Kiowa, a small town 23 miles east of Castle Rock. The area includes many large ranches, but urban sprawl has been claiming land and driving up property values.
When Sheila retired last year after 11 years as an extension agent in Kiowa, they no longer could afford a house payment there.
John worked in radio for 32 years, and the couple lived in 12 different locations, from Grand Junction to Indiana. He retired earlier.
“This is going to be our last move,” Sheila said.
The house sits on almost four acres at the north end of 4th St., with tree-lined creek beds bordering the east and north sides of their property.
The original house was built in 1928, and a large four-bedroom addition with a full basement was added in 2001.
“This is a great place for teaching wildlife to kids,” Sheila said.
They are enjoying a multitude of birds and are seeing tracks of turkeys and deer.
“The yard is beautifully landscaped and has nicely established flower beds,” she said.
Neighbors have given her a variety of irises to create a new bed, and she plans to make a lily bed next year. The couple has established a fenced-in garden in the backyard.
Sheila has a master’s degree in journalism/communication. She has been involved in extension in one way or another since she was 8 years old.
“I have a servant’s heart, and I love giving back to my community, which I learned in 4-H,” she said.
In Kiowa, she helped form a coalition of services geared to helping people. She is looking to become involved in the food bank, extension, thrift shop, or anywhere else where she can be of service here.