Co-inventor of Gatorade donates estate sale proceeds to 2 Steamboat nonprofits |

Co-inventor of Gatorade donates estate sale proceeds to 2 Steamboat nonprofits

John Waldman plays a game of fetch with Luna in Rita Valentine Park.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Yampa River Botanic Park and dog advocates who are trying to build canine-related improvements at Rita Valentine Park just got some big fundraising help from a famous doctor who is hailed as a real-life Doctor Dolittle by his friends.

Dana Shires, a nephrologist who helped invent the Gatorade sports drink in the 1960s, recently sold his second home at Sidney Peak Ranch in Steamboat Springs and decided to donate proceeds of the estate sale at the property to the Botanic Park and Steamboat Digs Dogs.

Heidi Grogan, Shire's assistant, said the sale raised $60,000 for the two organizations.

Grogan said Shires is a big animal lover who still owns several dogs.

"He is a very philanthropic man," Grogan said. "He loved Steamboat. He wanted to leave a legacy in the place he has loved for years."

Shires bought the ranch in the early 2000s with his wife, Debra.

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Items sold at the estate sale included Shires' Lexus SUV, snowmobiles, ATVs, oriental rugs and furniture.

"We asked him 'do you want anything?' He said, ‘I want the money to stay in Steamboat,’" Grogan said.

Grogan flew to Steamboat from Tampa, Florida, to attend the estate sale, which was put together by Steamboat Digs Dogs president and local real estate agent Kathy Connell.

"At least half of Steamboat was there," Grogan joked.

With the $30,000 donation Steamboat Digs Dogs will get from the estate sale, the group now has raised more than $90,000 toward improvements at Rita Valentine Park.

"We're all very excited about it," Steamboat Digs Dogs Vice-President Ulrich Salzgeber said of the donation from Shires.

Shires, 84, was part of a team of researchers that helped create Gatorade at the University of Florida College of Medicine in 1965.

In 1980, Shires co-founded an organization called the LifeLink foundation that supports and facilitates the transplantation therapy of organs and tissues.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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