Richard John Fiorini

Fiorini Enlarge photo


Durango native Richard John Fiorini died after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease Tuesday, April 24, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. He was 74.

Known as “Dick,” he was born to Noel and Thelma Fiorini in February 1938 in Durango. After graduating from Durango High School in 1956, he earned an associate’s degree in geology from Fort Lewis College in 1958.

During both his high school and FLC years, he competed successfully on the alpine ski team.

He became a pilot in the Air Force in 1959 and went to work for Shell Oil after his honorable discharge.

During the summer of 1962, he met Karen Howlett in Monticello, Utah, while he was selling headstones for his father’s business, Family Craft Memorials in Durango. The couple married Dec. 28, 1962, in Monticello.

During the 1960s, he was vice president of mining for Northwood Ltd., overseeing several small mining properties, including some in Central and South America. He later held the same position for the Dixilyn Corp.

After returning to school to expand his career opportunities, Mr. Fiorini earned a bachelor’s degree in mining and geological engineering from the University of Arizona in 1972.

Mr. Fiorini went on to have a long and respected career in the mining industry, working in Quebec and Ontario until he became operations manager of the Mount Taylor and Mariano Lake Mines in New Mexico for Gulf Minerals.

Mr. Fiorini became president of several mining operations. He said his favorite was as “president of gold” while with Burlington Resources’ Meridian Gold and Meridian Minerals subsidiaries. He retired in 2005, after serving as president and chief operating officer of Thompson Creek Minerals for 18 years.

After his retirement, the Fiorinis settled in Tucson. Mr. Fiorini enjoyed golf, fly-fishing trips, collecting wine, traveling and keeping up with the mining industry.

Mr. Fiorini is survived by his wife of 49 years, Karen Fiorini, of Tucson; daughter, Renee Fiorini, of Golden; brother, Duane Fiorini, of Durango; sister, Noella Baumgardner, of Denver; a grandson; and numerous extended family members.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 7, 2012, in Durango. For service details, call Renee Fiorini at (303) 279-7011 or email before June 1.

The family requests no flowers. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation at or (800) 272-3900.