Richard “Dick” Montrose, 80, longtime real estate business owner of Western Colorado and avid outdoorsman died suddenly at his home in Green Valley, Arizona, on September 9. His daughter, Moira Montrose Compton said her father suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. He was born in Denver on December 6, 1942, to parents Lee Wesley Doud, and Marjorie Grace Addison. After his father died four years later, his mother married Karl Dick Montrose. Richard lived a full life in Western Colorado, leaving the city as fast as he could to live in the mountains.
He graduated from then-Western State College in Gunnison in 1966, where he was an active member of Luftseben, student government, and was the editor of Top O’ the World newspaper. He was always one to appreciate a good practical joke and peppered the paper with mischievous articles. He continued a lifetime of well-thought-out April Fool jokes on his family and friends. He enjoyed his time living in Winter Park, cutting ski runs in Vail before the ski mountain existed, Aspen, Crested Butte, Gunnison, Carbondale, Paonia, Hotchkiss, Grand Junction and Durango. Later, he split his time between Durango and San Felipe, Baja, Mexico, since 2021, he started spending winters in Green Valley.
He loved life, nature, friends and family. Since the 1970s, Richard loved to spend free time with friends on river trips, rafting through the deep canyons of western rivers. Passions were fly fishing from the riverbanks or his dory, and he loved to teach the kids in his life to fly fish, saying, “we’re educating the fish not to be caught.” He equally loved skiing deep powder and chasing downhill gates, played tennis for hours, loved mountain bikes and motorcycles, and also called himself a rockhound, starting Lame Duck Lapidary opening the doors to the Crested Butte Gem & Mineral Society with friends in 1975. He opened a real estate office on Elk Avenue in the 1970s.
Art and music were his favorite hobbies, sculpting in the mediums of marble from the Marble, Colorado, quarry, cast metal sculptures (one sculpture is still on display at the art district in Grand Junction), and hardwoods from Baja that he formed into beautiful gifts with inlay turquoise for his dear friends and family. He loved to play his banjo and convinced his granddaughter at age 9 to perform a duet at her piano recital of the classic “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road.” Richard called himself a chief carver, firewood rescuer, recovering realtor, and tennis addict.
One of his earliest adventures in the West started at age 16 when he “borrowed” a car with a friend to drive to Canada and through the western United States. But he sent frequent postcards home to family members, letting them know he was safe from the journey he neglected to tell them about. Besides running his real estate business over the decades, Richard loved ski instructing at Winter Park, Crested Butte and Snowmass ski areas. He also introduced many to the health benefits of brown rice, foraging with the Crested Butte old-timers for edible wild mushrooms and the enjoyed the mind expansion of psychedelics and had the Amanita Muscaria gracing his early real estate signs.
Many of Richard’s colleagues and friends describe him as a mentor and as having a major influence on their life and career in real estate teaching them ethics and professionalism that continue to be taught today. He also taught real estate classes at Colorado Mountain Colleges.
Richard is survived by his daughter Addison Lee Crockett (Belfair, WA), and daughter Moira Montrose Compton (Durango, CO), son-in-law Ted Compton, granddaughter Cecilia Compton. Dick’s sister Carla Montrose, wife of Robert “Bob” McFadden, and their children Andrew and William McFadden, Jim Montrose and Marjorie Montrose.
Richard had many pivotal friendships that spanned over 60-plus years, though one friend stated that the scariest thing he ever experienced was trying to keep up with him on a pair of skis. It’s probably not a surprise that Richard was fond of wearing a hat that read “Professional Fun Team.”
A celebration of life will be held this Saturday, September 30, at The Depot in Crested Butte at 2 p.m. 716 Elk Ave, Crested Butte, CO 81224. Light refreshments will be provided. Email with further questions. Bring your Richard Montrose stories.