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Charles Siegele, ‘quiet leader’ and longtime Purgatory employee, dies at 70

Native Durangoan involved with Snowdown since its inception

Charles H. Siegele – who helped cut the Styx trail at Purgatory Resort, was a founding member of the National Ski Patrol of Southwest Colorado, and was a founding board member of Community Connections and the Adaptive Sports Association – died Dec. 12 at the age of 70.

His wife, Deborah Uroda, said, “He was in perfect health.” But he suffered a rare complication to a colonoscopy that led to his death.

“He was a quiet leader,” Uroda said. “He did a lot of things behind the scenes.”

A native Durangoan, Siegele was also involved with Snowdown, the town’s winter celebration, from its beginning. With a friend, John Briner, he started Snowdown’s Snow Softball Game, and he was a board member for more than 20 years.

Uroda described him as “the consummate outdoorsman who loved to hunt, hike, camp and ski.”

He met Uroda at the Ore House restaurant on a Friday night in 1984 while out with friends. They married in 1987, and they celebrated their 30th anniversary last May.

He worked at Purgatory Resort for 28 years, from summer lift operator to ski patrol director. The Siegele Street trail near the bottom of Lift 8 at Purgatory is named in his honor. Uroda said he put in the first telephone system on the mountain in the 1980s.

“He skied all his life. He learned to ski at Chapman Hill,” Uroda said.

A third-generation Coloradan, he was born to Herbert and Katherine (Rush) Siegele, in Durango on June 6, 1947, with a foot of snow on the ground, an omen his mother would say predicted his love of winter and skiing.

He lost his job at Purgatory during financially troubled times in 1996, but undeterred he went back to Fort Lewis College, where he had originally graduated in 1970, at the age of 50. In 2001, he earned a degree in computer science.

“He was always willing to help people,” Uroda said.

He joined StoneAge Inc. in 2005.

He graduated from Durango High School in 1965. After graduating from FLC the first time in 1970, he became a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War.

He met his first wife, Rosie Jackson, while washing dishes at Presbyterian Hospital in Denver as part of his conscientious-objector service.

They married in Durango in 1972, and in 1974, his only child, Richard Siegele, was born. His marriage with Jackson later ended in divorce.

He is survived by his wife, his son, and his sister, Susie Siegele, and his first wife.


Memorial service

A celebration of Charles H. Siegele’s life will be held Sunday, May 27, 2018, at the Junction Creek Group Picnic Area. Details will be announced at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Arc of Southwest Colorado to support inclusive and equal access to public education for all children with disabilities: 1199 Main Ave., Suite 216, Durango, CO 81301 or online at thearcofswco.org.

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