Obituary for Erich Paul Bussian
Erich Paul Bussian: A Picture of Resilience -- Erich Paul Bussian, husband of Mip van Suchtelen, passed away on Saturday, July 20, 2013, at his home in Durango, Colorado. Erich was born on August 7, 1959, in Boulder, Colorado, to Auguste Bussian-Watts of Jamestown, Colorado, and Dr. Alfred Erich Bussian of Golden, Colorado. After spending a couple of years living in Munich, Germany, where his father worked as a physicist, he spent the rest of his boyhood growing up in the small mountain town of Jamestown in western Boulder County. It was here, where, alongside his brother Peter, he developed and nurtured his great love of Colorado, the West, the outdoors and the adventurous and intellectual life in general - which would define his actions throughout his life. Erich graduated from Boulder High School and then received a BA in History from the University of Colorado. He went on to earn a Masters degree in European History from the London School of Economics and then a MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. A born entrepreneur and creative visionary, Erich began his career working in international management and sales for companies such as John Wagner Associates, AOL, MapQuest/National Geographic and most recently as the CEO of Free Notes Harmony Park, based in Durango. Throughout his career, Erich was never afraid to take risks, and through his vibrant personality he achieved success as an investor in commercial and residential real estate in Boulder and Durango, as well as in several cutting-edge start-up companies. In recent years, he used his business background to become a leader and voice to environmental and social issues. A lifelong Democrat, Erich's passion for political, civic and environmental issues championed numerous projects. The plastic bag ordinance, his most recent vision, exemplified his aspirations in environmental sustainability. He was an adviser for the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center, past chairman of the La Plata County Democratic Party, and a former board member of the Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado and just about a month ago became chairman of the board of the Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency (4CORE). In 1992 Erich married his first wife, Elizabeth Ingber Bussian, with whom he had his two children, Peter and Isabella Bussian. Erich had a unique and loving relationship with each of his children, frequently inspiring a yearning for vast knowledge and encouraging each to push their bounds. In 2008, Erich and Mip van Suchtelen married in Durango, and with her, he gained a daughter, Nikki van Dam, as well as a whole new Dutch family with whom he shared his warm and generous heart. Throughout his life, Erich ventured the globe to fulfill his audacious spirit and longing for worldly experience. His favorite trips included the company of family and friends. Erich's most recent travels included a backpacking trip down the Grand Canyon and a trip to Norway and Holland. Erich completed the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in 2013, reaching Molas Pass with the personal mantra, "I will not stop." This characterized his determination, resilience and desire for a challenge, and creating a memory his family and those close to him will cherish as a celebration of Erich's triumph. An avid outdoorsman, Erich shared his joy of the wilderness with family and friends, and anyone he happened to meet on the trail, through tales from salmon fishing in Alaska to encounters with bears in the Weminuche. His charismatic personality lifted the spirits of friends and strangers alike. Erich touched people's hearts through his insight and humor. Giving the gift of laughter in the form of a witty remark, or a five-day hunting trip resulting in frozen toes, inflated egos and the sighting of half an elk, and creating the most genuine laughter from people in all walks of life and all over the world. Erich is survived by his wife Mip van Suchtelen, his first wife, Elizabeth Bussian, his children Peter Henry Bussian and Isabella Anehe Bussian, his step-daughter, Nikki van Dam, his parents and a brother, Peter Glenn Bussian, of New York City. All are invited to a Celebration of Life that will be held on Saturday, July 27, 2013, 4-7 p.m., with a ceremony starting at 4:30 p.m. at 549 E. 5th Ave. Another celebration and spreading of ashes will take place in Jamestown, Colorado, to be announced at a later date.