Richard Alan Curtis
April 15, 2015
June 4, 1945 – April 12, 2015
Richard (Dick) Alan Curtis spent his last day in Steamboat sitting in the sun and looking at Mt. Werner. Dick was born in Boston and worked in New York City as a design draftsman before coming west to Denver in the mid 70's, but his life really started and ended in his beloved Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
When Dick arrived in Steamboat in 1983 to work on the Hayden Power Plant he discovered the mountains, a deep joy in running the hills, skiing and all things outdoors. Mountain running was his first love and his passion led him to compete in several Leadville Trail 100 milers and Hard Rock 100 milers. Hard Rock was his favorite. Spending 3 days running 100 miles with over 30,000 ft. of climbing and hitting elevations of over 14,000 ft. was just a fun way to finish the week. No matter how bad he must have been hurting, his response to the question "How are you feeling?", was invariable, to the very end, ´Oh don't worry about me, I'm just fine".
Dick last completed the Hard Rock 100 at age 59. He entered a couple of more times since then completing over 50 miles and last summer paced a friend over the peaks in a full on lightning storm. He completed the Run Rabbit Run 50 Miler at age 65 and the Pikes Peak Marathon at age 66. He continued to hike and run the hills and cross country ski right up until a few months ago.
Dick loved the competition, but more than that he loved to help others through their challenges. He paced more runners through 100 milers than he could remember. He volunteered at more running and skiing events that we can count. Everyone who has spent much time running, cross country or back country skiing in Routt County has a "Dick Story".
Dick was not a one dimensional guy. During his time in Steamboat he also served two terms on the City Planning Commission and ran for City Council. Maybe the biggest surprise to those who knew him well was his secret identity. Throughout his life he had mixed his skill in engineering with art and had become an accomplished artist and photographer. Dick had written quit eloquently about his love for art and its impact on his life and conversely his life on his art.
Dick was a bit eccentric and had his way of doing things. As much as he liked a good time and socializing with other people, he preferred quiet and the company of nature above all things. He camped and back packed throughout the mountains and the deserts of the southwest with the wind, sand, stars, mountains and streams as his only company.
In the end when he knew that his treatment options were very limited, would take him away from Steamboat and make it impossible to walk freely, he chose to come home to die. His desire for privacy meant most of his closest friends did not know of his illness or have a chance to say goodbye. All of his friends and acquaintences need to know that in the last two weeks of Dick's life he expressed love and appreciation for all of them. They need to know he was comfortable, funny, lucid, irreverent and at peace with his passing.
We will all miss him dearly and think of him often.
Dan and Mo Smilkstein
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