GREEN MOUNTAIN FALLS, Colo. — The Ute Pass community suffered a great loss at the beginning of November when a woman was killed in a house fire.
Seventy-seven-year-old Kat Bridenbaker died in her Green Mountain Falls home on Tuesday, Nov. 9. She was a mother and grandmother, but many knew her as the owner of a custom upholstery business.
Her family wants the community to remember her sense of humor and the quality of work she put into each piece. Bridenbaker is known as ‘Rockin K’, founder of the Rocking K Upholstery store in Green Mountain Falls in 1998. Her family plans to continue her life’s work.
“She would do it all. She did all sorts of material. She didn’t like leather, but she would do it,” granddaughter Meghan Busnardo said. “People would come in just to talk with her. She would sit right here at the sewing machine and have two pairs of glasses on sometimes and just chat with people.”
For multiple decades, Kat and her daughter Deanna LeBeau worked together at the store. Kat started out making rocking horses but quickly turned it into an upholstery business.
“She sewed, and I did the upholstery and we worked together for 22 years doing upholstery here until just recently,” LeBeau said. “She was a wonderful lady, she knew everything about upholstery and sewing and then she taught me and since I was a young child.”
The fire was ruled an accident, and the family told FOX21 News that it was possibly started by a heating pad at the foot of Bridenbaker’s bed. She, along with her great dane, died from smoke inhalation.
“It destroyed everything,” LeBeau said.
“We ended up saving one shirt, and two of the hold checkbook boxes of pictures in her entire house,” Busnardo said.
Bridenbaker used to take before and after photos of her work and would put them in scrapbooks. Fortunately, some of those photos were at the store and not in her home.
Her family said that Bridenbaker poured her heart and soul into every custom order.
“She had more than customers they were her friends too,” LeBeau said.
“Every piece of furniture that is in Green Mountain Falls or Woodland Park or the Greater Divide area that has her memories with it is to just cherish them,” Busnardo said.
It’s a tradition that they hope to continue.
“Probably uphold to the same quality that she did and to use her same tenacity in everything that she did. When she did it, she did it with her whole heart, and she left nothing unchecked or unturned,” Busnardo added.
A celebration of life will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 3 p.m. at the Church in the Wildwood, United Church of Christ. Her family has also set up a Go-Fund-Me page to help with funeral costs.