TRANSITIONS 2012 | Too Many Deaths, Too Many Young Lives Cut Short
by Watch Staff
Dec 28, 2012 | 3151 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DR. TED DICKENSON died at his home, in Montrose, on Jan. 20. (Courtesy photo)
DR. TED DICKENSON died at his home, in Montrose, on Jan. 20. (Courtesy photo)
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PATRICK MORRIS died last January after being hit by a vehicle. (Courtesy photo)
PATRICK MORRIS died last January after being hit by a vehicle. (Courtesy photo)
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SHARON SHUTERAN - The untimely death of Shuteran, who served as San Miguel County Court judge since 1984, sent shock waves through the Telluride community. Shuteran died of a heart attack on May 5, on a morning hike near a friend's house in Cabo Pulmo, Baja California. (File photo)
SHARON SHUTERAN - The untimely death of Shuteran, who served as San Miguel County Court judge since 1984, sent shock waves through the Telluride community. Shuteran died of a heart attack on May 5, on a morning hike near a friend's house in Cabo Pulmo, Baja California. (File photo)
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Legendary ice climber Jack Roberts, author of Colorado Ice, one of the state’s first ice-climbing guides, was killed in a climbing accident on Telluride’s Bridal Veil Falls on Jan. 14. Roberts was leading on a pitch when he fell approximately 60 feet, suffering a hip injury. Eighteen San Miguel Search and Rescue team members and deputy sheriffs reached Roberts, whose climbing partner had lowered him to a safer shelf below, and began the difficult extrication from the lower section of the ice falls. During the extrication Roberts went into cardiac arrest; after 40 minutes of CPR Roberts, a Boulder resident, was pronounced dead, near the scene of his fall. It took rescuers several hours to recover his body. … Ridgway/Telluride resident Patrick Morris died from multiple injuries sustained when he was run over by a Home Safe van early on the morning of Jan. 15. The beloved fixture on the Telluride and Ouray food scene known to many in the community as “Dancing Pat” sustained fatal injuries after being struck by a van chartered to transport late-night revelers. According to a Telluride Marshal's Department press release, Morris had joined approximately 30 people in front of the San Miguel County Courthouse seeking transportation via one of the two waiting Home Safe vans. When the first 10-passenger Chevrolet van filled beyond capacity, several riders were asked to disembark; Morris, reportedly, was one of them.

For “inexplicable reasons,” Morris “took a prone position in the street in front of the right passenger tire of the Home Safe van,” according to the Telluride Marshal’s Department press release. “Witnesses to his actions thought it a prank, and failed to notify the driver of the man lying in front of the vehicle. Morris came to Colorado with a culinary background, having trained in Oklahoma and Texas and gone on to work in restaurants and hotels from Texas to Hawaii to Japan. Deciding he’d had enough, he moved to Colorado in 1996. “I threw all my ties at my boss, and told him I was moving to Colorado to be a ski bum,” he told The Watch in 2007. After a short stint at a restaurant in Vail, working with longtime friend Chad Scothorn, who today owns The Cosmopolitan restaurants in Telluride and Durango, Morris moved to the Western San Juans. He soon met fellow telemark skier Melissa Johnson, and the two began a relationship that led to the creation of Wildwood Farms, on Log Hill Mesa and, later, buying and operating the now-defunct Season’s Harvest Natural Food Market, in Ridgway.  … Dr. Ted Dickinson, a tireless advocate for civility and community in Montrose since 1971, died Jan. 20 at home in Montrose, of a heart attack. He was 79. The loss was all the more unexpected because, as his daughter Heather Exby told The Watch, Dickinson was “so alive. We didn’t see him as old. He was always excited about the next thing.” Dickinson was a surgeon who came to small-town Montrose and, along with a handful of other doctors, including pathologist Dr. Thomas Canfield and internist Dr. Tom Chamberlain, worked at Montrose Memorial Hospital. Beyond medicine, Dickinson strove from the beginning of his time here to nurture and improve community. He was a 30-year Rotary Club stalwart, and he helped establish the Montrose Community Fund and the Academic Booster Club. Even after retirement, he continued to recruit and educate new doctors, and sat on the board of Rocky Mountain Health Plans. He wrote a regular newspaper column. He loved to ski and put together, Exby said, “a group of skiing docs” who volunteered with the Telluride Ski Patrol, to both improve medical care on the mountain and “get their skiing in.” Preternaturally energetic and engaged, with a toothy smile and an ear for everyone, Dickinson was a mover in the group that started the community forums at Heidi’s Deli every Wednesday morning.
“He would come home excited about what that week’s speaker had to say,” Exby said, “and then he and his friends would get excited again discussing who the next speaker and topic would be.”Aaron James “Spud” Ball, a 25-year-old resident of Ridgway, was found dead in his apartment on Monday, Jan. 16. According to a press release from the Ridgway Marshal’s Office, on that day “an officer of the RMO responded to a request for a welfare check on Ball, who had recently moved to town, and “observed a body” lying on one of the bedroom floors…. Ball, who was from Nebraska, had arrived in Ridgway on Jan. 12, and moved into his apartment on Jan. 13. … Pioneering Ouray County resident Gertrude Perotti, died Feb. 2 at Valley Manor in Montrose, where she had been living for the last nine years. Gertrude and Jerald Perotti lived for five decades on a small, tilted farm east of Hwy. 550, near Orvis Hot Springs, where they raised chickens, rabbits, ducks, milk cows, sheep, hogs, and horses. Gertrude always had a large garden and lined the root cellar shelves for winter. Jerald, who died in 1991, worked for a time at the Idarado Mine, did a stint as Ridgway Town Marshal, and, for the last 20 years of his life, he worked for the Western Area Power Administration in Montrose. He passed away in 1991. … Telluride resident Nate Soules died on Monday, Feb. 13, in an avalanche in Bear Creek, in an area known as the Fingers just outside the Telluride Ski Area boundary. Soules, who was fully equipped with an avalanche beacon, an Avalung, and an ABS Air Bag System, which was deployed, died almost 23 years to the day of the tragic 1989 Valentine’s Day avalanche in Temptation Chute that killed two local skiers and injured another, precipitating the federally mandated closure of the terrain located to the east of the ski area boundary from the top of Needle Rock Chute to top of Palmyra Peak. Soules left behind his wife, Hilary, and Ben, their 4-year-old son. … Telluride resident and Alaska heli-skiing guide Robert “Rob” Liberman, 35, died in an avalanche March 15 while skiing Alaska’s Takhine Ridge, while guiding a heli-skiing group. All of the skiers were wearing avalanche beacons at the time of the avalanche. Liberman, a fixture in Telluride’s skiing community for 17 years, had worked for the past eight years at La Marmotte restaurant, and guiding expeditions for Haines-based Alaska Heli-Guides during the spring. In college, he was a member of the University of Colorado’s ski team. While skiing in Bear Creek in 2009, Liberman and a friend heard a major avalanche and went to inspect it; spotting a glove, they started digging and found a skier unconscious, saving his life…. The Montrose Police Department has released the names of two victims involved in what appears to be a murder-suicide on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 25, in north Montrose. … Charity Gilbert, 20, and Randy Briggs, 31,were found dead Feb. 25 on the front lawn of Briggs' Montrose home in a murder-suicide that took place shortly after Gilbert's arrival, with Briggs' estranged wife, Patricia, to pick up the couple's four children. Montrose Chief of Police Tom Chinn said that Patricia Briggs ran through an open neighbor's door when the shooting started, and called police. The children, ranging in age from 10 months to 6 years, had been locked in the home and were unharmed when police found them. A suicide note was found written into the dust on a car in the garage, but he did not elaborate. …Twenty-seven-year Telluride resident Leigh Well Rogers Cannon was found dead in her Shandoka apartment on Friday, Feb. 24. “She was such a tomboy,” said Cannon’s 23-year-old son, John, who grew up hearing stories of his mother’s happy childhood, growing up in Elmira, N.Y., one of four children born to Joan and Hank Rogers. Cannon’s love of the outdoors and her innate athleticism drew her to Telluride, after college. Like their mother, both children excelled in their favorite sports – John as a state champion golfer in high school, and Lindsey a top-ranking International Ski Federation freestyle mogul skier. Cannon came to Telluride in 1985, and worked, over the years at a variety of jobs – as a waitress, as Oprah Winfrey’s housekeeper, on the ski mountain, and, most recently, for Mountain Limo. … Norwood High School junior Garrett Carothers died on March 10 after being buried by an avalanche while snowmobiling in the La Sal Mountains of eastern Utah. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” said Norwood Schools Superintendent Dave Crews, of the school’s reaction to Carothers’ death. Carothers lived in Redvale west of Norwood with his parents, Charles and Cindy. He was out with his cousin, also a junior at Norwood High School, his uncle and another man from Nucla, touring from Gateway, about 35 miles into Beaver Basin, in the aspen and evergreens of the La Sals, where the snow got deeper, the higher they went. The first three riders had crossed an opening (actually a part of the avalanche path) when the slide released 1,000 vertical above them. Fourth rider Carothers was swept over the road with his machine into the steep gully below, which was filled by as much as 30 feet of avalanche debris, after the slide. Utah’s Grand County Search and Rescue helicopters a group of rescuers to the site, but the search suspended for the night; the next day, a much larger group, including volunteers and Search and Rescue SAR teams, recovered Carothers’ body, buried 12 feet deep and about five feet from his snowmobile. A Garrett Carothers Memorial Motocross Exhibition kicked off the San Miguel Basin Fair and Rodeo in July. … Part-time Ophir resident Donn Pinkney, 43, was presumed missing on Feb. 25, after his empty sailboat washed ashore near La Ticla, Mexico. Pinkney, whose body has not been found, was last seen sailing out of Manzanillo Bay on Feb. 20; traveling solo, he planned to sail the roughly 180-mile stretch between Manzanillo and Zihuatanejo nonstop. Friends became concerned after they could not reach him via cell phone, despite adequate cell reception in the area, shortly after his departure. Friends and family did not learn of the discovery of his boat until Feb. 29, by which time the boat had been completely stripped by looters. The 7.5 ft. inflatable dinghy and Pinkney’s surfboards were missing from the boat; it is not known if they were stolen after it surfaced on land, or if Pinkney had tried to anchor at a nearby surf spot prior to his disappearance. … Log Hill resident Bill Steele, 55, died unexpectedly in Ridgway on Friday, March 2. Steel was the coordinator for Public Lands Partnership and husband of Colorado Seventh Judicial District Judge (and former Ouray County Attorney) Mary Deganhart. The two were having dinner at a Ridgway restaurant when Steele collapsed from cardiac arrhythmia, according to County Coroner Colleen Hollenbeck. Steele who was born and raised in Springfield, Vt., “vowed he’d return” to Colorado after visiting the state with an uncle, when he was 16 years old, and succeeded in 2002, moving to take a job as Archuleta County. He met Deganhart, an attorney in private practice in Pagosa Springs, and the couple married in February 2009 at the Colorado National Monument. They moved to Ouray County when she took the county attorney position there in 2006; she was appointed to the district court by Governor John Hickenlooper in 2011. Semi-retired, Steele took over the coordinator’s job for PLP, founded in 1992 as a local forum for people, businesses, local governments and land management agencies tasked (according to its website) “to discuss and promote local action on natural resource issues that affect our economy, ecology and sense of place,” in 2007…. Telluride resident Rebecca Janeen Wright, 57, was found dead in her Shandoka apartment on the morning of Thursday, March 1, by a family member. Wright is survived by her children, Sara and Michael; by her mother, Mittie Lou Wright; and by her brothers, Wayne and Don. … Beloved musician and director of the Western Slope Concert Series and cellist in the popular Celtic band FEAST Tyme Mientka died in Grand Junction on March 31 from cancer. Born in 1956 in Reno, Nev., he loved football and the cello, and during his high school years loved playing electric bass in his rock band, Rambunctious. He attended Northwestern University where he met his future wife, Kathryn (Catie) Olson. The couple first moved to Bozeman, Mont., in the 1980s to teach music and conduct the chamber orchestra at Montana State University, and then to Europe, playing concerts throughout Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. They moved to Paonia in 1999, founding the Western Slope Concert Series (and the Valley Youth Orchestra, which Tyme conducted, also playing with the Grand Junction Symphony, and working as adjunct cello teacher at Mesa State College), and started the Celtic band FEAST, which performed regularly in Colorado. In 2009, their Celtic show with music, “Celtica Sinfonia,” sold out the Avalon Theatre, Montrose Pavilion, and Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, and was filmed by Rocky Mountain PBS, airing in 2010, featuring the full band FEAST, including daughter Stephanie and son Gabe, and daughter Rosie dancing a duet to “Greensleeves.” … Charles V. Moore, 77, of Egnar, was found dead on April 9, at his trailer home in rural San Miguel County. Moore had last been seen a week before that, sitting on his front porch, by someone who requested a welfare check April 9. Sheriff’s Deputies entered Moore’s trailer home, where they found Moore’s badly decomposed body, surrounded by his 20 dogs that lived in the trailer with him. … Sarah Anne Engel, 48, of Norwood, died April 4 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, of natural causes. Engel moved to Telluride in 2000, and settled with her husband Robert Dean “Bob” Engel, in Norwood, where she worked as a bookkeeper. … Longtime Ouray resident Philip Kerner Icke, 72, died April 23 at the Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colo., from complications brought on by pneumonia. Icke, born in 1939, in Evanston, Ill., the only child of Philip F. Icke and Rose (Kerner) Icke, moved as a young child with his parents to Ouray, where his father began a successful practice as a lawyer, and later, as the county judge. He attended the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he met his wife, Jeri Foster. The two were married on April 29, 1960, and had two daughters, Karen Rose and Jill Susanne. After graduation, PK enlisted in the army, and moved with Jeri to the Washington, DC, area, serving two years at Fort Belvoir. The couple then moved to the Chicago area, where Icke worked with the First National Bank of Chicago (a predecessor to today’s JP Morgan Chase Bank), moving back to Ouray in 1991 to care for his ailing father, becoming a strong supporter and booster for the Ouray County Museum and the Ouray County Historical Society. He was a nephew of former Illinois governor, Otto Kerner. … Shock waves went through the Telluride community with news of the May 5 death of San Miguel County Court Judge Sharon Shuteran, 58, while hiking in Mexico. Shuteran, who assumed that position in 1984, was equally prominent outside the courtroom, where she was a frequent volunteer to local festivals and nonprofits, a familiar presence on town streets, ski slopes and hiking trails, and a close friend to many. She died unexpectedly on a morning hike near a friend’s house in Cabo Pulmo, Baja California; a search party found her body after she failed to return as expected. Shuteran, a fourth generation Coloradoan, and a 1978 graduate of the University of Denver law school, started her legal career as a VISTA attorney for Legal Services in Denver, and then worked as a deputy district attorney. She arrived in Telluride in 1979, when she purchased the Excelsior Café, which she operated for 14 years. Friends remembered her as unfailingly kind and generous; her colleagues, as an unfailingly fair judge. “She really touched more bases and with more presence than anyone I know,” said Shuteran’s close friend Marshall Whiting. Seventh Judicial District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller praised Shuteran as someone who “did not just ‘move people through the system’ – she cared deeply about each and every defendant and worked diligently to find creative sentencing solutions,” carefully weighing “rehabilitation and punishment considerations to do the right thing for defendants, victims and the community. Aside from her long-term service on the bench,” Hotsenpiller wrote, “Judge Shuteran was active in countless nonprofit organizations. For the past several years, she traveled to Bhutan with a group of physicians and other volunteers to help children with cleft palates. She never slowed down, always getting involved and trying to make the world better.” Shuteran is survived by her son, Eliot Muckerman. … Following a welfare check by the Telluride Marshal’s Office on Wednesday, May 16, Telluride resident Jennifer Elizabeth Rausch, 27, was found dead at her residence in the Shandoka Apartments. Rausch is survived by her husband Dorin Matecvic of Telluride, her parents Anita and Earl Rausch of Rogers, Ark., and her sister, Lisa, of Washington, D.C. … John Pierce Donley III, 50, of Montrose, died unexpectedly on Aug. 14, from a heart attack.  A State Farm Insurance Agent in the Montrose community for 15 years, he is survived by his wife Jill, his son Pierce and his daughter, Tate.  Born and raised in Greeley, Colorado, he was the son of former Colorado State Senator John P. Donley II. … Matthew Jackson Wilkes, of Telluride, died on Aug. 13. Wilkes, who moved to Telluride in the late 1990s, worked in the hotel and restaurant industry, most recently at Smuggler’s. He is survived by his wife, Cally Anderson, and his children Ronin and Virginia and their mother Shayla, of Norwood. …Telluride lost a friend, and the country lost a hero for all time with the death of Neil Armstrong on Aug. 25. The first man to walk on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, his famous words, “That is one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind,” spoken as he became the first person ever to set foot on another planetary body, instantly became a part of history. Armstrong, an avid skier and golfer, discovered Telluride and soon purchased a home after being grounded in Phoenix during the commercial airline service suspension following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. He was a committed board member of the Telluride Foundation. “Neil’s accomplishments, on both this planet and in space, are well known,” said Ron Allred, former owner of Telluride Ski & Golf Resort and co-founder of the Telluride Foundation. “He was interesting to discuss world issues or philosophy with; he was humorous, competitive and above all a sincerely humble person. Neil was like all of us in Telluride – he understood and embraced the special essence of our community. Telluride will miss Neil Armstrong.” A service was held at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., for private service the American aviator, astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, businessman, university professor, and United States Naval Aviator. Neil Armstrong is survived by his wife, Carol, two sons, a stepson, a stepdaughter, 10 grandchildren, and a brother and sister. … Retired Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Sylvester H. Schoening, of Norwood, died on Aug. 29. Known as Father Syl, he served as pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Telluride from 1969 until his retirement in 1981, during which time he was an early and outspoken critic of America’s war in Vietnam. “I got myself in trouble for that,” he said in an interview a few years before his death, at age 82, at The Hermitage, in Norwood, where he lived for 20 years, and continued speaking out about local land use issues, protection of public lands and threats to wildlife. An outdoor enthusiast, hiker and explorer of hidden, high altitude places, Father Syl owned a succession of wolf-Alaskan malamute hybrids, for whom he advocated for acceptance as domestic companions. Over the years, his extensive fenced compound was home to as many as seven of these very big dogs, including Couloir, a granddaughter of Telluride’s famous and much-photographed star, Zudnick. … Longtime Ridgway resident Patricia Ammon, M.D., died at home on Sept. 16. After completing her residency at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction in the late 1980s, Dr. Ammon practiced in Telluride and Montrose, but soon took on and expanded Ouray County's only medical facility, the Ouray Clinic. The clinic became St. Mary's Clinic, in Ridgway, and is now Mountain Medical Center. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nearly two decades ago, Dr. Ammon pursued studies in Ayurvedic medicine, which led to her integrated treatment approaches, and was one of the first people to complete a fellowship in Dr. Andrew Weil’s Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Arizona. She went on to anchor the group of providers working in Ridgway's integrative medicine community today. Dr. Ammon was born on Oct. 10, 1956, in Florence, Ky., to Robert and Margie Ammon. She is survived by her two adopted sons, Ryan (14) and Ian (12), and by her husband Dale Yocum. …Dave Wood, longtime president of the Citizens State Bank of Ouray, has died at age 82 at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. Wood’s daughter, Sarah Farrar, was with him when he passed away on Sunday, Nov. 25. Wood was with the bank for 51 years, beginning in Sept. 1961. (Citizens State Bank will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.) Under his leadership, the bank added branches in Naturita, Ridgway and Silverton, and was an area banking institution. Wood’s wife, Mary, preceded him in death last year. In addition to Sarah, he is survived by two other children, John and Martha. … Wilson Mesa resident Mary Friedberg died on Nov. 26, surrounded by family and friends, after a long battle with breast cancer. Friedberg is survived by her husband, San Miguel County Commissioner Art Goodtimes, and by her children, Gregorio Osha Rainbow and Sara Mae Friedberg. “Letting a loved one stay at home, rather than in a hospital, as they make that passage into the bardo, is a beautiful experience. Not easy. In fact, quite difficult, exhaustive and sad. But also transformative,” said Goodtimes. “We’re certainly lucky, in San Miguel County, to have Alpine Hospice available to help family and friends provide that level of care for our terminally ill loved ones.” … Longtime Telluride resident Patricia Ryan Jaeger, died on Dec. 8, in Montrose. She and her husband, Dan Jaeger, moved to Telluride in 1983. Jaeger served on the board of Rainbow Preschool and was involved in many other community activities. After her divorce in 2004, Patty relocated to Lake Havasu, Ariz.; she had recently moved to Montrose. She is survived by her son, Ryan.

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