Monday, August 13

a source's passing

Zaffos sent me some sad news this morning regarding the passing of Robert Funkhouser, a vigilant public lands advocate who was recently interviewed for an important story the Chronicle broke last week on the very likely fee increases and closures in some of our area's most treasured national parks.

Funkhouser's obit follows:

(Norwood, Colorado and Middletown Springs, Vermont) Robert G. Funkhouser, our partner, brother, uncle, friend, colleague and associate, passed over very early the morning of August 10, 2007 when his body suddenly and unexpectedly failed him.

He was born July 3, 1957 in Berkeley, CA, the son of Selmes Paul and Terry (Carson) Funkhouser. He attended elementary school in Manhasset, New York and graduated from high school at Burr and Burton Seminary in Manchester, Vermont before moving to Telluride, Colorado. There he was known early on as a member of the skiing “Flying Epoxy Sisters,” then for his fine work as a master craftsman and builder, and more recently for his fervent dedication as President of the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition. In that capacity he coordinated efforts by hundreds of organized groups and thousands of individuals and was the primary national spokesman to Congress against public lands access fees. He was working closely with members of the U.S. Senate on his long-time goal of legislation to roll back these fees. He dedicated the last six years of his life to the cause of keeping public lands free and open to all. He will be sorely missed but his cause and passion will be pursued by his many and diverse friends and associates.

Robert was a resident of Norwood, Colorado and Middletown Springs, Vermont. At various points on his journey, he also spent time working as a commercial fisherman off Montauk on Long Island and resided near Santa Barbara, California and Dorset, Vermont where his fine restoration work will stand for many years as testament to his rare vision, talent, spirit, and commitment.

Rob was a wildly sentimental collector and story teller who loved “critters,” the great out of doors, military history, dancing, fun hats and toys, Mickey Mouse, a clever joke, and the fact that it seemed to him that each year on the night of his birthday, the entire country celebrated with fireworks. He is survived by his longtime love and life partner Dietra Davis of Middletown Springs, Vermont and also by his three sisters and their families, whose closeness Rob so dearly valued. ...

Friends, neighbors, and colleagues are invited to join us in celebrating Robert’s life on Friday, August 17, 2007 at the Dorset Inn in Dorset, Vermont at 11 a.m., beginning with time to gather together, followed by a brief period of remembrance and then by a light brunch. A private inurnment will follow at Maple Hill Cemetery in Dorset. For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to The Western Slope No-Fee Coalition, P.O. Box 135, Durango, CO 81301 or to a charity of one’s choice.

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