Richard Ernest “Rick” Black, born in Del Norte, Colo., on Feb. 9, 1947, passed away on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, in Loveland, Colo., at the age of 74, due to complications from COVID-19. In recent years, Rick had battled serious medical issues related to his military service in the Vietnam War, but despite this discomfort, Rick met those challenges with his self-deprecating humor, quick wit, and a smile.
One of seven children, Rick was raised in Del Norte, Colo., by Barney and Freeda Black, and graduated high school in 1965 before joining the United States Navy. After Rick’s honorable service to our country, he returned home to Del Norte where he met and married the love of his life, Colleen Kathryn Howell, on Sept. 11, 1970. One year later, they welcomed daughter Aimee Kathleen, with a son, Ryan Christopher, arriving two years later.
Rick established a lengthy and highly respected career in law enforcement, beginning with the Springfield Colorado Police Department in 1971, acting as Chief of Police for a time before joining the Baca County Sheriff’s Office.
In 1979, Rick moved his family to Lamar, Colo., to accept a position with the Lamar Police Department, where he was Detective Sergeant until his first retirement in 1991.
Continuing his life of service in law enforcement, Rick was a valued member of the Colorado State Patrol dispatch center for a number of years, as well as a well-respected investigator with Rampart Investigations.
Eventually, Rick and Colleen returned to the San Luis Valley and built a home in Del Norte to be near their ever-growing family. Always a man of service, Rick paused his law enforcement career for a time to tend to patients with Respiratory Services Inc., before ultimately taking a position as a parole officer with the Colorado Department of Corrections in 2005.
After a commendable and prestigious career, Rick retired fully from law enforcement in 2015, to concentrate on his health and spend time with his wife, children, grandchildren and ultimately, three great-grandchildren who were the light of his life.
The mountains of the San Luis Valley were truly where Rick found his happiness, so being able to build a home there, surrounded by such a rich family history was always a great source of pride for him, but above all else, he was proud of his family and never shied away from telling anyone who asked, just what a lucky man he was, in his estimation, no man was ever as fortunate as he.
Indeed, Rick lived a life of great integrity where he enjoyed a wealth of love and admiration from family and friends and earned an immense amount of respect from those who knew him.
Rick is survived by his wife of 51 years, Colleen Kathryn Howell Black, and his beloved dogs Deuce and Maddee of the family home in Del Norte, Colo., his daughter Aimee Black (Crystal Richards) of Parker, Colo., his son Ryan Black (Christy Bergman) of Alamosa, Colo., his grandson Kyle Black (Marissa Westerman) of Alamosa, Colo., granddaughter Kayla Black of Del Norte, Colo., and great-grandchildren Jack, Nova and Azuriah. He is also survived by his siblings Ken (Alice) Black, Kelly (Kathy) Black, Patsy Black, and Robin (Craig) Hargis, as well as several cousins, and numerous nieces and nephews. Rick also leaves behind countless friends and colleagues whose lives were indelibly touched by his loyalty and kindness.
Rick is now joyously reunited with his dearly departed parents Barney and Freeda Black, brothers Ronnie and Donnie, best friend Scott Darnall, treasured mentors Junior Dapron and Willard Goff, as well as a host of beloved family members and lifelong friends.
Per his request, Rick was cremated, and a celebration of life will be held in his honor in 2022. The family wishes to send very special thanks to the exceptional staff at the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, Colo., for the incredible care and compassion they demonstrated during this most difficult time. Memorial Donations may be made in Rick’s name to Vietnam Veterans of America at https:/vva.org/donate
Arrangements in care of Strohmayer’s Funeral Home.