Steamboat Springs An arts advocate with a love of community, a generous spirit and a keen sense of humor, longtime Steamboat Springs resident Gloria Gossard had an eye to the future with many of the marks she made on the town.
From her early involvement with Strings Music Festival to her 120-acre gift meant to preserve natural land on Emerald Mountain, Gossard paired generosity with “futuristic thinking” in her extensive community involvement, longtime friend Geneva Taylor said.
Gossard died of natural causes in her home Monday morning. She was 88.
A Colorado College alumna with an avid interest in local history, Gossard was connected to the Steamboat Springs community in her recreational, philanthropic and organizational pursuits. She moved to Steamboat Springs from La Jolla, Calif., with her parents, H.W. and Pearl, and her brother, Bill, in the early 1930s.
Through the years, Gloria Gossard “supported about every nonprofit entity” in the community, Taylor said. Among the organizations and events Gossard had a hand in are: Strings Music Festival, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, LIFT-UP of Routt County, Literary Sojourn, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Yampa Valley Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, the Tread of Pioneers Museum, Bud Werner Memorial Library, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and the Routt County Humane Society.
Gossard’s gifts did not go unnoticed. In 1998, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation named her its Philanthropist of the Year. In 2000, she was honored with the Hazie Werner Award for Excellence. In 2008, the Steamboat Springs City Council chose her as the winner of the biennial Steamboat Springs Heritage Award. Part of the 120-acre parcel on Emerald Mountain is named Gloria Gossard Park.
Strings Music Festival Executive Director Kay Clagett — a friend of Gossard’s who met her in the mid-1970s and started working with her on Strings in the late 1980s — said Gossard attended more Strings concerts than almost anyone. Gossard’s birthday often fell during the summer music series, so occasionally the band would play a birthday song and Gossard would get up and dance, Clagett said. A Strings board member from 1993 until 2000, Gossard “firmly believed in the importance of the arts to what she believed was a great quality of life,” Clagett said.
“She was one of those women who truly believed in what you were doing and what you wanted accomplished, and she helped you get there,” she said.
Gary Cogswell, who met Gossard in the late 1970s and through the years became one of her close friends, said she had a “bright intellect” and was “wonderful to banter with.”
“I would say she was always unassuming and was gracious to people no matter what their role in life was,” Cogswell said.
Clagett described Gossard as “one of the most unique women I’ve ever known,” with a sharp sense of humor and a genuine love for the people in her life. Taylor also pointed to Gossard’s sense of humor as a standout trait.
“One thing about Gloria, she was always positive — about everything. Even if it was politics, she was positive,” Taylor said. “That’s why she was such fun; she never seemed to be down.”
— To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org