Steamboat Springs resident Wayne Kakela enjoys his Strawberry Park ranch in June of 2008. Kakela, a vibrant and inventive member of the local arts community, died of natural causes Saturday night at Steamboat Springs High School. He was 73.

FILE PHOTO

Steamboat Springs resident Wayne Kakela enjoys his Strawberry Park ranch in June of 2008. Kakela, a vibrant and inventive member of the local arts community, died of natural causes Saturday night at Steamboat Springs High School. He was 73.

Longtime resident dies of heart problems at high school

Artist and rancher Wayne Kakela, 73, lived for decades in Strawberry Park

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— Longtime Strawberry Park resident Wayne Kakela died Saturday night at Steamboat Springs High School. He was 73.

Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Kakela died of natural, heart-related causes. He fell unconscious just after 7 p.m. in the school's auditorium and was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center. The high school hosted a performance of "Carmina Burana" on Saturday night.

An artist, sculptor, metalworker, rancher and man of many talents, Kakela was a vibrant member of the local arts and social communities. His approach to art often coincided with his approach to life.

"A whole bunch of knowledge is learning how not to do something," Kakela said in June 2008.

His countless works include a flock of metal sheep at the east end of the Stock Bridge Transit Center parking lot, and recently, a contribution to Home ReSource's Creative Community Project, which spurred the creation of art with discarded or recycled materials.

"I've always felt that things should be recycled as much as possible, and I think there's a lot of aesthetic potential in materials that maybe had one use and could be changed in function and shape and use, and maybe combined to make more interesting things and more sculptural things," Kakela said in May 2008. "I've been making things like that for years."

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