Longtime Steamboat Springs resident Helen "Dee" Daska Richards passed away peacefully June 10, 2007, at Doak Walker Care Center. She was 86.
Dee quickly changed her name to Dee-Dee as soon as she went to college. Always wanting things done in her characteristically feisty and creative fashion, she carved a life for herself that could be envied by many.
She was born in Portland, Ore., on Oct. 6, 1920, to James and Sarah Dunn. As her father built his career in the restaurant business down the West Coast, Dee spent most of her childhood in Berkeley, Calif. She had an older sister, Bobbie, and a younger brother, Jim. She chose to go to Oberlin College in Ohio due in part to family tradition, and she majored in art history. She married Hugh S. Richards, who was studying to become a doctor. While pursuing his medical credentials, they lived in several Eastern states before moving to Colorado in 1949. They first lived in Estes Park and then moved to Steamboat Springs in 1951. Later they divorced, and Dee continued to bring up her five children in Steamboat Springs. During that time, she worked at various jobs including the Chamber of Commerce, the Winter Sports Club and then the Steamboat Pilot, where she stayed for 25 years until she went into the Peace Corps in 1991 for two years. Never wanting to slow down, she then took a job as a ticket agent at the Steamboat Ski Area at the age of 74. She worked there for the next 10 years.
Dee made her mark in the community of Steamboat Springs as well as the state of Colorado by being very active in many activities and organizations in the newspaper business, city government and community projects. She encouraged involvement by all around her, starting with her children. She never missed a sporting event or any other activity in which her children were involved. She aggressively sought education for her youngest disabled daughter, Marianne, at a time when very little special education was available. She was not one to give up on anything in which she became involved, especially Marianne's future and quality of life.
Dee worked many years as a reporter at the Steamboat Pilot until becoming managing editor. She won many awards for her work and continued being her feisty self with a good sense of humor, hard work, creativity and compassion for others. She loved hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter with her wide range of close friends.
She will be missed by all who knew her, as she made an indelible mark on the world around her.
Dee is survived by her five children and their spouses, Hugh "Dick" and Jamila Richards, Bruce and his wife, Jane Richards, Tom and his wife, Jan Richards, Pam and her husband, Bill Pospisil, and Marianne and her husband, Harris Thompson; her grandchildren, Erik, Kerry, Kelley, Karen, Natalie, Neal, Noelle, Tanya, and Luke, with one deceased grandson, Johnny; her great-grandchildren, Thomas, Gavin, Ilah, Corissa, Trevor, and Ryan; and her sister, Bobbie Carlson.
A Celebration of Life is planned for 11 a.m. Aug. 5, 2007, at the Strings in the Mountain Music Festival Tent, 900 Strings Road, Steamboat Springs, CO.
Memorial donations may be made to the Routt County Historic Newspaper Project in care of Alysa F. Selby, reference and adult services librarian/project coordinator for Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487.