Cover photo for Colleen Tafoya's Obituary
Colleen Tafoya Profile Photo

Colleen Tafoya

September 23, 1933 — January 12, 2023


Colleen Elmora Tafoya, 89 passed away on January 12th, 2023, at Kalispell Regional Medical Center in Kalispell, MT.  

Colleen was born in Ronan, MT, on September 23rd, 1933, the daughter of Richard and Gladys Carlyle.

The history of Colleen’s family in Lake County goes back generations. 
Her father Richard Carlyle was a farmer and rancher in Mission Valley and her mother Gladys was a local piano teacher. 

After attending grade school in Pablo, MT, Colleen went to Polson High School. 
Colleen was 21 years old when she began teaching first grade at Ronan Elementary School.  She went on to work for Pan American Airlines.   While single, she enjoyed traveling and even went to Japan on vacation with her younger brother Dick Carlyle while she worked for the airline.

Colleen moved to Manhattan Beach, CA with her girlfriends, twins Dolores and Doris Jensen to experience life outside of Montana for the California coastal sunshine. It was in Manhattan Beach where she met her future husband, Bob Tafoya.

Colleen and Bob were married on September 25th, 1959.  She and Bob raised three sons, Dan, Jeff, and Richard in Garden Grove, CA.  The family would return to Montana every summer to vacation together on Flathead Lake and stay with family at their legacy cabin in Indian Bay.  This tradition lasted all her life and was always the highlight of her year.   Once Bob retired, they moved to Highlands Ranch, Colorado for 5 years and then moved back to Northern Montana and called Kalispell home for the rest of their lives.

Colleen was a devoted mother and wife.  Her family was without a doubt the most important thing in her life.  She attended every little league game watching her young boys play baseball and was active with their involvement in Cub Scouts.  The family loved camping and spent numerous weekends camping in their Prowler trailer all over Southern California and on their drives north to Montana for summer holidays at the lake.

Colleen’s Christian faith was an important part of her life.  She raised her boy’s saying prayers before bedtime every night growing up and made sure the family went to church on Sundays.  She loved listening to music, attending live concerts, painting, traveling, and staying in touch with friends and classmates, especially enjoying get-togethers with her lifetime girlfriends known as the “Lunch Bunch”. 

 Colleen, Bob, and Richard traveled throughout Europe twice while Richard was in the Air Force and stationed there.  They traveled to England, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Holland, and Scotland. These were great memories for her that she reminisced over often.

Colleen is preceded in death by her husband, Bob Tafoya, her mother and father, Gladys and Richard Carlyle, sister Marilyn Boyle, brother Marvin Carlyle and nephews, Craig Carlyle, and Christian Carlyle.

Colleen is survived by her brother Dick Carlyle (Rosiland), sons, Dan (Shirley), Jeff (Amanda) and Richard Tafoya, a niece and six grandchildren, six great grandchildren, family, and friends.

Memorial services for Colleen will be held on Saturday, July 29th from 11:00 - 11:45 am at Lakeview cemetery, 2000 Hillcrest Dr. Polson, MT 59860.  Following the memorial, a celebration of life will be held from 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm at the Polson Elks Lodge, 512 Main Street, Polson, MT 59860.  Friends are encouraged to visit our website at to leave notes of condolences for the family. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory caring for the family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Colleen Tafoya, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

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Lakeview Cemetery, Polson


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