Durango native Richard Charles Siegele died suddenly on Sunday, March 27, 2022, as a result of heart failure brought on by complications with his pulmonary system. He was 47.
Richard was born 8 weeks prematurely on September 24, 1974, at Mercy Medical Center to Rosie and Charlie Siegele. Although Richard had to be transported to Albuquerque for open-heart surgery immediately following his birth, he was a fighter and survived. However, complications following his birth left him with cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities.
At the age of 4, Richard's parents moved him to Grand Junction, where he received specialized medical care, physical and occupational therapies that weren't available at the time in Durango.
In many ways, Richard was a pioneer for inclusiveness. He was one of the first residents in Grand Junction to move into a Mesa Developmental Services group home, a vast improvement over living in an institution. He moved to Durango in 1989 to the Holly House, a group home run by Community Connections. At the age of 21, with the help of his family, he purchased his own home on Goeglein Gulch Road, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Richard had a wide circle of friends, and if you accompanied him anywhere in town, a friend or acquaintance always approached him to say hello. He had an unbounded interest in other people and was filled with compassion and caring for those he knew.
When he wasn't picking up attendance slips at Needham Elementary School, he was skiing or rafting with the Adaptive Sports Association or riding horses with the former Hozhoni Horseback Riding Therapy Program.
He was an active member of the former First United Methodist Church, now the Summit Church, and enjoyed teaching Sunday school lessons with his Aunt Susie Siegele. He cherished his faith and his church community.
He was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents; his father, Charlie Siegele; and his aunt Susie Siegele. He is survived by his mother, Rosie Siegele; his stepmother of 35 years, Deborah Uroda; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins; and his longtime caretakers and friends Ketty Latimer and Spruce DeRussy.
No services will be held. Rather, the family requests that Richard be remembered with a prayer, a run down Siegele Street at Purgatory, a trip down the Animas River, or a good hamburger and french fries, his favorite meal.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to The Summit Church for its children's and family ministries programs.