Chuck Richards of Cedaredge was joined by family, friends and many others at the Cedaredge Community Center on March 15 to mark a retirement from an active career working with local ditch and reservoir companies and the Grand Mesa Water Users Association.
It was not the first retirement from a long and productive career for the energetic Richards.
In 1977 and approaching retirement from a 30-year career with the Denver Post, Chuck's job had required travel throughout Colorado. While on the Western Slope, he came across the perfect community and business opportunity in the town of Cedaredge.
He knew what he wanted to do when he and his wife retired. To the horror of his wife Florence, who loved living in Colorado Springs and her job at Colorado College, Chuck's announcement of relocating to Cedaredge and growing apples was not greeted with enthusiasm.
A stunned Florence told their equally surprised children, "I can't even get him to mow the lawn. He doesn't know anything about growing apples!" This was in 1978.
But, in typical Chuck Richards fashion, that small detail didn't deter him and within two years they were on their way to Cedaredge to start a new life and career.
For the next two years, Eddy Wilkerson and Marvin Walden managed the orchard Chuck had bought from Andy Herman. Their son, David Richards, managed it for the next year until Chuck and Florence moved over and got settled into their new house.
With the help and advice from the Extension Service at Colorado State University, and from Bill Briscoe, Danny Williams, Steve Aquafresca, Bob Morris and many other growers in the area, Chuck became proficient at growing a good apple. Florence helped out by driving the one-ton truck full of the fall crop up to McPherson's on Cedar Mesa.
In addition to the orchard, Chuck served on the board of directors for WestStar Bank (now US Bank), served a term on the Cedaredge City Council, is an active Mason, served on the Pioneer Town board, was active in the local Republican Party, and he remains an active member of the Cedaredge Community United Methodist Church.
As a sports enthusiast he enjoyed golfing, and skiing. An avid fan of football, whether it is the Denver Broncos, CU Buffalos or Cedaredge's own Bruins, Chuck loves to watch the games. And when it comes to viewing games on television, it doesn't seem to matter who the teams are. After all, a football game is a football game. His loyalty isn't limited to football. He and daughter Janine have journeyed to the Rockies' spring training camp in Scottsdale, Ariz.
After the death of his wife and loving partner of 54 years, Florence, Chuck discovered a new sport to add to his life — bicycling. His love of bicycling led to three extended bicycle vacations to the Vermont hills, the South Island of New Zealand, and, in 2006, the Italian Tuscan coast.
As the oldest member of the cycling group, he was proud of the fact that although he wasn't the first to finish the goal line each day, he wasn't the last one, either. When it came to riding down a long hill, he loved to go fast and would pass up riders much younger than himself. He made many friends on those trips, some of whom he still stays in contact with.
In early 1998, Chuck was approached about taking over the position of secretary treasurer for the Stevens & Linder Ditch Co. Since then, Chuck has served as secretary treasurer for 14 ditch and reservoir companies on the Grand Mesa leading to serving as a board member of the Water Conservatory District.
This new career required Chuck to become proficient on a computer with many different programs. He has acquired a vast knowledge about water shares, reservoir ownerships and maintenance matters. He has earned the reputation as the area expert whom many people have come to over the years for help and information.
After 15 years and at the mere age of 87, Chuck retired yet again this month. He attributes his longevity and quick mind to having to climb the steep set of stairs up to his water office repeatedly throughout the work day. He will be greatly missed by those in the Grand Mesa Water Users Association office and by members of the community whom Chuck has worked closely with over the years.blog comments powered by Disqus