The Doak Walker Care Center community honored Lila Rider by paying tribute at the chair where she spent her days. Rider died Wednesday at age 84.

Photo by John F. Russell

The Doak Walker Care Center community honored Lila Rider by paying tribute at the chair where she spent her days. Rider died Wednesday at age 84.

Brent Boyer: Farewell to a South Routt community voice

Lila Rider, 84, was Facebook before there was Facebook

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Brent Boyer

Contact Editor Brent Boyer at 871-4221 or e-mail bboyer@SteamboatToday.com.

— The routine evolved throughout the years, but the result was always the same: Somewhere within the pages of the Sunday Steamboat Pilot & Today was a Lila Rider column.

Lila was as dependable as, well, the daily newspaper. She began writing for the Pilot in 1944, and in the decade that I’ve been here I never knew her to miss a week. Even with her health failing in her final weeks, Lila wouldn’t think of missing a deadline.

A reporter would head to the Doak Walker Care Center at 10 a.m. every Wednesday, where Lila would be waiting in her favorite chair in the heart of the Doak. Her news items from South Routt and the long-term care center she called home in her later years always came from memory. A reporter had to write quickly to keep up with her barrage of news tidbits and assorted announcements. She’d keep one eye on your notepad to make sure you didn’t miss a thing.

Lila was not one to disappoint, or to be disappointed. A missed appointment inevitably resulted in a call from a Doak nurse to the newsroom, inquiring why a reporter had not shown up as expected. That led to a mad scramble out the door and a drive across town to the Yampa Valley Medical Center campus.

Lila’s displeasure would be apparent upon the reporter’s arrival, and understandably so. She prided herself on being the voice of South Routt, and she didn’t appreciate the possibility of that role being taken away, if even for a week.

Of course, the in-person visits were a product of her later years, when her health dictated a full-time move to the Doak. For many years before that, Lila’s column arrived every week by mail, her news blurbs about South Routt communities and their residents handwritten onto a neatly folded sheet of yellow paper.

Lila Rider was Facebook long before there was Facebook. She was the conduit by which South Routt residents shared news about their families, their communities, their business and themselves.

She was a beloved figure throughout the county, and she was a reassuring presence in the Sunday paper. We’ll miss her.

Brent Boyer is the editor of the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He can be reached at 970-871-4221 or bboyer@SteamboatToday.com

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