COLORADO SPRINGS—Our family would like to thank the people of Creede. Over 50 years ago, our father was able to purchase a parcel of land up river from Creede. On that land, he built a mountain home that has become our family’s most treasured tract of God’s good earth.
The townspeople of Creede were always very kind and supportive of our father. They welcomed us each season as the family returned to the mountains.
He was born in Michigan in the fall of 1919. To give you some sense of his long life, he remembered meeting veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg when, as a child, he would encounter older men who had been drummer boys or flag carriers during those three tumultuous days in 1865. Incredible. He came from grinding poverty, was a career Army officer who served in three wars, traveled the world, retired and began to build his dream log mountain home in 1972.
Early on the morning of Aug. 15, 2018, he was asleep and simply stopped breathing.
He lived a long, vital and faithful life. He was deeply connected to his faith and family, truly felt the profound beauty of the Upper Rio Grande valley, of life in the river and he treasured the close ties of friends and community with which he was blessed. He was active in the Creede Community Church throughout his seasonal visits.
Our family believe that he was one of an ever-diminishing generation of people whose moral core and values were based on truth and honesty. He was in our eyes a great man, and the legacy he leaves behind is enormous — in family, faith, kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, sense of humor, and love of living. He is, in the wake of his passing, an exemplar that all of us should be lucky to emulate.
There will come a day when any one of us will stand under an Aspen tree along the Rio Grande. An elk’s call will echo across the valley, the wind will shudder the leaves of the trees and the brilliant colors of fall will quilt the mountains. In that quiet moment of connection to God’s bounty and glory, nature and beauty, there will he be.
~The Family of Dane Marshall Smith