January 16, 1966 - December 31, 2011
Phillipa “Pip” Oliver passed away Dec. 31, 2011, at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver after a brief but courageous battle with cancer.
Pip was born Jan. 16, 1966, in New Zealand. She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Claire Oliver.
Pip first came to live in Steamboat Springs during winter 1985, when she founded the base of so many friendships that would last her a lifetime. For many years she divided her time among Steamboat, New Zealand, Australia and Europe, where she had many travels and adventures. But ultimately her love for Steamboat Springs and its wonderful inhabitants made her call the Yampa Valley her permanent home. She settled with her partner, Bud Hunter, and all their animals on Bud’s ranch in South Routt and called this her home until her final days.
Her love of all four-legged creatures shone through when in 1998 she studied full time in New Zealand to become a veterinary technician. With this degree in hand she volunteered at several sanctuaries in Australia and New Zealand and worked at a busy vet clinic in London. Her vet tech skills came in handy later while caring for their horses and many other critters on the ranch.
In April 2011, having sought medical attention for extreme headaches, Pip was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma. Within days, she had surgery in Denver to remove a life-threatening tumor from her brain and began radiation and chemo treatments for the remaining tumors in her brain and lungs. Despite facing this aggressive disease, she kept the most positive of attitudes at all times. This approach worked well for her, long beyond her doctors’ expectations. She still was hiking daily with Bud and riding her horses on Rabbit Ears up until a short while before the day when several new tumors began bleeding into her brain.
On Dec. 27, she was flown from Steamboat to Denver for emergency surgery. Surrounded by Bud and many of her life-long friends, she passed away peacefully four days later.
Pip’s final wish was to be cremated and to have her ashes scattered in the Yampa Valley and in New Zealand, together with her parents’ ashes.
Her many friends are invited to attend a celebration of Pip’s life from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Catamount Ranch & Club golf clubhouse, 33400 Catamount Drive. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Pip’s name to Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, either online at http://mvhr.net or to P.O. Box 1681, Eagle, CO 81631, and to Routt County Humane Society, P.O. Box 772080, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477.