Leah Jean Ashby Greksa 48, was born in Golden, Colo. February 14, 1964 and died May 16, 2012 in Georgetown, Colo. due to complications of a bone marrow transplant, following a diagnosis of a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Mother to Cali, a freshman at CU Boulder, and married to Mark, with whom she co-owned the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Canon City, Colo., she possessed a passion for family and adventure travel that served her well throughout her life. Leah also never took her health for granted and became an accomplished kayaker, rafter, cycler and runner. She grew up in Golden in the railroading business; helping her parents, Lindsey and Rosa Ashby, operate tourist trains in Central City and Georgetown. In 1999, she and Mark launched the Royal Gorge Route Railroad and spent the following years growing it into one of the finest rail experiences in the nation. They worked as a team to implement a vision of fine dining and great service, all based on their experiences traveling the world. Leah always worked diligently to ensure passengers were made to feel special, just as she wished to be treated throughout her many travels. Her favorite spot on the train wasn't in one of the dining cars, but out in the open-air car, talking to guests from around the world. To commemorate her warm spirit, passion for travel and love of the Royal Gorge, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad has named its newest open-air car after Leah - it's called the Leah Jean.Leah attended Fort Lewis College, where she met Mark. They fell in love their freshman year and after graduating in 1986, traveled the world by bicycle and backpack. Together, they racked up thousands of miles traversing European cities and countryside. Shortly after the birth of their daughter Cali, Leah began leading the family on expeditions through Europe, Thailand, New Zealand, and Australia. Throughout her life, she also loved to fly in the family's small plane. As navigator, she helped guide them to destinations like Mexico, the Bahamas, the San Juan Islands, and many points in between. During her 16-month battle with cancer, she often remarked that she had lived more in her 48 years than most experience in several lifetimes. Leah's final wish was for Cali to live a life filled with a passion for adventure, fearing little, and embracing people of all lifestyles and beliefs, learning and loving, just as she did, and always valuing diversity. Leah and her family thank the many fine health care workers and especially the BMT nurses at CBCI and PSL, along with Summit County doctor Tanja Britton who delivered compassionate care each and every day. They understood the devastation of disease and shared a similar definition of quality of life that, unfortunately, many oncologists ignore. Leah and her family would also like to thank so many friends who were there for them, providing emotional support along the way. Leah is survived by her daughter Cali and husband Mark, Summit County residents, and parents Rosa and Lindsey Ashby, who live in Georgetown.Friends and family are invited to celebrate Leah's life at the A-Frame at Arapahoe Basin, June 2 at 3 p.m.. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or to a local hospice care facility.
Read a recent Summit Daily profile on Leah and Mark