Donald Barz Jr
Donald Barz Jr
Donald Barz Jr

Obituary of Donald Hugh Barz Jr

Donald Hugh Barz, Jr, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, was born December 25, 1937, in Minturn, Colorado to Donald H. Barz, Sr and Marguerite Goepel Barz.

A graduate of Glenwood Springs High School, Colorado in 1955, Barz attended Colorado State University for two years before joining the Marine Corps and being stationed at Camp Pendleton, San Diego, CA. Following his service, Barz returned to Glenwood Springs, where he worked for Public Service as a surveyor and met his wife Patricia (Pat) Barz (née Hamlin), who was working as a journalist for the Glenwood Post. The couple were married in 1960 when Barz returned to school at CSU, where he graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering and earned graduate credits in business administration towards an MBA.

While at CSU, Barz worked as a Civil Engineer II for the City of Fort Collins. Following graduation, he worked at Coors Construction as a construction supervisor. After Coors, he became an account manager for Symons Corporation, an international concrete forming company, and was consistently a top engineering salesman. In fact, Barz sold the largest single contract in the company’s 75-year history and obtained major sales contracts with multiple top Fortune 500 companies. After retirement, he “worked” for Rocky Mountain Angling Club, both in the office and as a fly-fishing guide under outfitter Chuck Prather.

Barz was a true renaissance man with myriad interests and accomplishments:

He spent his formative years on a ranch in Sunlight Basin. Former Colorado Governor, John “Vandy” Vanderhoof of Glenwood Springs, would stop at the ranch to pick him up and they would ski at the area now known as Sunlight Basin Ski Area. He later inherited his uncle’s Tenth Mountain Division skis and perfected his skiing at Red Mountain Ski Area above Glenwood Springs. Barz served on the National Ski Patrol for 13 years, where he was active in avalanche mitigation, served as division testing and training chairman and was a regional director. In addition, while on Sandia Mountain patrol in Albuquerque, he helped develop the Los Alamos Ski Patrol.

Barz was a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics as a designer and builder of radio-controlled gliders. He loved flying his gliders in the thermals around the Boulder area and at special hot air balloon events.

As a member of the Buccaneer 18 Class Association, Barz was a fierce competitor in sailboat racing. He and his wife Pat, who was always his first mate, helped bring the Buccaneer National Championships to Colorado and were active in the Colorado One-Design racing organization.

While living in Albuquerque, Barz became involved in the Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association (AAAA) in 1973. As a hot air balloon pilot, commercial instructor, and race organizer, Barz taught many balloon pilots. He competed in races in multiple states as wells as the National Balloon Races in Indianola, Iowa, finishing in the top ten. He was a member of the Balloon Federation of America and was very active in both the Albuquerque and Colorado Balloon Clubs, holding various offices. He was the proud owner of many balloons, including co-owner of the Zia balloon (the state flag balloon of New Mexico) with Dr. Tom McConnell, as well as Black Magic, Ball ’N Jack and Crown Royale.

Barz was also a rock climber, a member of Rocky Mountain Rescue, and an accomplished mountaineer. In the early 1970s, he climbed Pico de Orizaba and Popocatépetl in Mexico as well as Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at 22,837 ft.). Aconcagua is located in Argentina and is one of the Seven Summits of the seven continents. The outdoors was always Don’s home and with his wife Pat, and children Buck and Michelle, Barz jeeped and explored all over Colorado. Later in life, he fly-fished with his wife Pat and many friends throughout the western US and overseas, including Patagonia, Africa, the Caribbean, Fiji and Christmas Island.

Barz also had a strong artistic side. His love of music helped him become a self-taught pianist and ukulele player. He had an excellent ear, enjoyed all types of music and had a great singing voice. Barz also taught himself to paint after watching Bob Ross on television and went on to paint outdoor scenes, still lifes, portraits and whatever caught his imagination. In his later years, Barz was working on a book about ballooning adventures and misadventures, which his family hopes to finish and publish. Prior to that, he wrote several epic poems in the style of one of his favorite poets, Robert Service.

Don was also an excellent craftsman and carpenter. He built two homes with his father and was always ready to build and repair any project that needed done for the fly-fishing club or at home.

Barz, who died August 15, 2023 at Collier Hospice Center Lutheran Hospital, passed away with his devoted wife and children by his side. He is survived by his wife, Pat, children Donald H. Barz III (Buck) and daughter Michelle Barz (whom he proudly delivered on the way to the hospital), her husband Stuart

Teuscher, grandchildren Crystal Bacon and her husband Anthony Baker, Zachary Barz, Will Teuscher, Julia Barz and Alexa Teuscher, and great grandchild Lilah Baker. The family will honor Barz by celebrating his life and birthday at Christmastime.

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