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Saying goodbye to Peter Carver

STEVE LEWIS/ Durango Herald

Hundreds showed up for a New Orleans-style memorial parade for Peter Carver on Saturday afternoon that started at Carver Brewing Co. and ended at Durango Discovery Museum.

By Robert Galin Herald staff writer

Hundreds of people joined the “paisley parade” Saturday afternoon in a procession in memory of Peter Carver, who died Feb. 2 in an avalanche near Silverton Mountain Ski Area.

In the style of a New Orleans jazz funeral, the Hill Stompers from Los Alamos, N.M., led the procession from Carver Brewing Co. north on Main Avenue, then west down 12th Street to Durango Discovery Museum. The jazzy street band is known for its colorful and “crazy” costumes, which were matched by some similar wild outfits in the procession.

In addition to the several hundred people in the procession, additional friends and family went straight to the museum. There were so many people attending that well-wishers hardly could fit into the museum.

Many of the marchers wore red or blue paisley bandanas in the parade and during the remembrance at the museum because Peter “had his trusty bandana” on his various adventures, said Mike Hurst, a Carver partner and friend.

“We lost one of our own,” Peter’s father, Bill Carver said before the procession began. “It’s very reflective of Peter.”

One of the participants helping lead the procession was Chris Johnson, who was Peter’s boss when he worked in the “gas patch.”

He said Peter arrived in the field as “kind of an unfocused kid,” but left about a year later focused on a career in geology, determined to improve environmental effectiveness in the field.

“It’s a hard day,” said Dave Cuntz, known as Chef Dave at Carver Brewing Co. “I knew Peter as a baby. ... He had a great spirit about him.”

Peter’s uncle, Jim Carver, said he was touched by the outpouring of love and support for the family. The family got to hear stories about Peter from his many friends.

Jim Carver said that Peter’s friends said, “I never heard a bad word about Peter.” Peter’s love of adventure and positive spirit are reflective of his caring extended family, he said.

At the museum, some guests contributed to a fund for the proposed Peter Carver Memorial Forest at Chapman Hill. A sign for the project said the tree planting would be part of the Chapman Bike Park project in cooperation with the city of Durango and Trails 2000.

Peter Carver was an avid bicyclist, as well as a skier and kayaker, among other sports.

According to the sign, the forest would provide erosion control, summer shade and increased snow retention.

rgalin@durangoherald.com

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