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Over the last 10 days a town is bidding farewell to 2 extraordinary Dads.  Although I knew neither, I have read every comment from their friends and family that were posted in the local newspaper.  And so with Father’s Day just a week away, my heart is heavy with feelings for the kids now facing the unthinkable void of losing a Dad.

Both Tim Cooper and Jeff Kuss died tragically and unexpectedly while in the prime of life. In my opinion, both men embodied the guts and grace that built this country, and in particular, the town of Durango. Perhaps only Duane Smith can properly characterize these 2 guys.  Men with tenacity, toughness and perhaps the most unheralded fatherly trait of all, tenderness!

When I read about them I can’t help but ask myself, “How do I become more like them? Their legacy of work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit are qualities of great people that get remembered long after they’re gone. Undoubtedly they set lofty goals for themselves, and probably understood failure as a necessary hiccup along the path to success.  Somehow I sense they framed success as a measurement reserved only for those who came to rely on them; measurements of net worth were best left to those other guys.

There is however another life-lesson that Tim Cooper and Jeff Kuss have imparted on me. And it’s not just cliché; these 2 guys lived life with passion….BIG-TIME, get out and get it gusto! My hunch is they knew that lofty goals are nothing without pause, pause to smell the roses and pause for adventure and adversity. Nowadays it seems that challenge and adventure for our kids comes in the form of a video game or a VR headset.

So on this Father’s Day grab your kids, get out and drag them into some real-world adventure. Even if it’s just a walk in the park or zoo, remember what Tim and Jeff would do. Make them sweat as well as smile. Have them get off the couch, get outdoors, and challenge them with a climbing wall or climb up a hill.  Take a photograph of a bee, or a bird, and don’t allow the wonders of childhood to be wasted on the superficial.  Because long after you’re pushing daisies, the time you share exploring the thrills and wonders of life is what they will remember. And maybe, if you’re lucky, they in turn will pass that piece of Tim and Jeff on to their own kids.

My sincere condolences to their families and all those privileged to have known them. And on Father's Day a tribute to the their spirit and legacy.

Tim Cooper


Jeff Kuss