Kevin was that rare breed – an indomitable high country spirit who skied with the gods and fished and hunted with the coyotes and bears. The man was at his peak roaming the mountaintops in the pre-dawn freeze bugling for elk, but never more fulfilled than at home with his son Chase and family firing up the “Barbie” and recounting the day’s events.
He was at once Wild Kingdom and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Fiercely loyal to his family and friends, Kevin lived with a gentle edge that brought him many places and many rewards. His passion for children and sports, in particular ice hockey, for which he was one of the original Lizard Head coaches, was an emotional experience to witness.
When I first met Kevin it was on the Town Park soccer field in the fall of 1985 playing on a team for the Last Dollar Saloon with his brother Dennis. I was new to town, but we became instant friends because the team won, we won together, and Kevin loved winning.
Kevin was a winner. He enjoyed the conflict of competitive sports and especially the sweet struggle to win. That autumn was the beginning of a long and intense friendship.
Kevin was a master of the mountain and the couloir. He was more a fish than most trout.
He could smell the elk before they ever smelt him. His mountain bike races up Bear Creek with his old roommate Timmy Stoddard in the pouring rain, another running of the “Bear Creek 500,” were legend. He was Ingemar Stenmark, Daniel Boone, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Mick Jagger, and Judge Wapner all rolled into one.
The reason I loved the guy so much was he possessed that alluring true-grit quality I always imagined to be the essential fabric of life in Telluride during those magical years preceding the real estate boom. Kevin tapped into that magic on so many levels, knew so many of the places in and around the valley where there was untracked powder, in the summer as well as the winter. Was it any surprise that it was Kevin on Firecracker Hill igniting the 18-inch mortars during the Fourth of July celebrations?
To take pause now and catch our breaths and celebrate the life of this spirit at this time is a difficult task. The idea that he has left us, standing and waiting in the wind and sun at the top of the Gold Hill Lift for a final time is still too much to fathom on such short notice. Certainly Saturday’s gathering at the Palm Theatre will allow us to grieve as one for a man who gave so much to so many.