Remembering Our Ancestors: Lucille Stanaway

Lucille Stanaway, Annunciation High School, Class of 1950 graduation photo. Photo courtesy of the family

As the G.E.S. population continuously evolves, it’s important that we preserve our history by remembering our community’s ancestors—people who have made a lasting impact in our neighborhoods, families who share similar characteristics and backgrounds with those who live here now, and those with interesting stories to pass onto our youth. Here is one of them. 

Lucille (Canjar) Stanaway (1933-2022) passed away recently at her current home at the Gardens of St. Elizabeth. Born Lucille Bernadette Canjar in Denver, Colorado, she was the youngest of ten children. Living in Denver’s Eastern European enclave of Globeville, Lucille, sometimes referred to as Lu, attended Holy Rosary Grade School and Annunciation High School. After graduation, she left to join the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas. As a nun, she taught social studies and language arts at elementary and junior high schools in Helena, Montana. 

Lucille was part of a team of nuns and priests who set up religious instruction classes in parishes throughout Helena during the school year. Jim Stanaway, a Catholic priest, was also on that team. After her final school year, Lu left Helena to finish her master’s degree at the University of Detroit and realized that she had feelings for Jim. When she returned to Helena, she and Jim discovered that their feelings were mutual. She left the convent and Jim left the priesthood, and after receiving dispensation from the church, the two were married in Denver in 1973. 

In 1982, Lu won the Irish Sweepstakes which provided the couple funds to purchase a new home. Lu finished her working career as an executive secretary at Amoco. She and Jim enjoyed attending all the local team sporting events, and you could find them on the golf course on many weekends. A highlight of Lu’s athletic talent was evident when she scored a hole-in-one at the Vail Golf Club in July, 1987.

The Canjars were one of three (the other two being Horvat and Yelenick) Globeville families that are a branch of the Boytzs, one of the first families to move to Colorado from the old country. Originally settling in Leadville, they came for the same reasons as the other Eastern European immigrants—religious freedom and economic opportunity. They were part of the South Slavs, including Slovenians, Croatians, Macedonians, and Serbians, who came from an area that had been part of the Austrian-
Hungarian Empire. 

Holy Rosary Grade School class of 1946. Photo courtesy of the family

Lucille was the sister of Father John Canjar, the pastor at Holy Rosary. Father John was known for reaching out to all community members regardless of their ethnic or religious background and being active in anti-poverty programs

This is one of many G.E.S. success stories, and there are numerous commonalities found throughout neighborhood families. The majority of our families living here now first came from Mexico and its various estados after WWII, and many of these families first settled in the San Luis Valley, Southern Colorado, or Northern New Mexico before moving to G.E.S. Similar to G.E.S.’s first settlers, many of our residents came here because of opportunities, those not present in their original homelands. Many are also related to their neighbors or knew them from their former countries because they moved here together. 

Lucille was predeceased by her parents, Frank and Mary (Boytz) Canjar, and siblings, Frank, Mary, Raymond, Leo (Mary), Helen, Rev. John, Florence Putnik (George), Catherine Smith (Everett), and Margaret Braukman (William).

Her kind smile and warm heart will be sorely missed by her family and friends.


  1. Anthony, thank you for sharing Aunt Lu’s story with the G.E.S. Community. She was a bright, shining star and will be missed by her family and friends.

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