Obituary for Richard L. Peterson
Richard Peterson, 81, died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, at his home on July 15, 2017.
Richard was born and raised in New Jersey and educated at Cornell and Harvard. He moved to Colorado in 1963, where he began his long standing business career. He was the CEO of Vail Associates from 1970-1977, where he led the company during a time of major and rapid growth. He also served as President of Colorado Ski Country, and it was during these years he developed his lifelong love of nature, running, and backpacking in the Colorado Mountains.
In the late 70’s Richard was asked to join the board of Durango Ski Corporation. In 1981 he moved to Durango to become President of Purgatory Resort. He lived on a ranch on the Pine River where he fulfilled his vision to live sustainably. Richard valued education and environmental and personal well-being, and acted on these beliefs by serving on the La Plata Open Space Board and the board of Durango Natural Foods. He also served 30 years on the Fort Lewis College Foundation Board.
One of Richard’s favorite accomplishments was developing the Tourism and Hospitality Management Option in the business school at Fort Lewis College. In his later years, he worked as a financial coach and consultant.
Richard is survived by his wife Susie, his daughter-in-law Deanne Peterson, and his granddaughter Julia Peterson, all of Durango. He was preceded in death by his brother Alan Peterson and his son Todd Peterson.
Richard will be fondly remembered for his lively spirit. He considered himself an opportunistic birdwatcher, which he practiced during his hundreds of hikes in the mountains around Durango and the Southwest. He will be truly missed by his friends, family and his two dogs.
A celebration of life will be held at Hood Mortuary on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 11:00 am. Memorial contributions may be made in his honor to the Fort Lewis College Foundation or a local non-profit of your choice.