David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Otto’s Memorial Service


For those of you who weren’t here, I can tell you that Christmas in the mountains lacked something this year. To be sure, we had the big windstorms around the 14th, and some snow, so we had the white Christmas we always expect but sometimes don’t have.

The Post Office is, even more than usual, the center of our lives around Christmas, as we send and receive packages and cards. But without Otto to greet us, it just wasn’t the same. Christmas wasn’t as much fun as it was last year.

The memorial service was held at the Fire House, and, for Allenspark, it was a big crowd; standing room only for the nearly 100 folks there. Danny St. John did a fine job as the first of many speakers, and for almost an hour people who had known Otto for a couple of months or more than three decades shared their memories with the group. Some stood. Some sat. Some cried. We all laughed at some of the stories.

In a community known more for its factions and disagreements than its solidarity in any cause, it was a remarkable experience, as so many of us joined together, for what may have been the very first time, in a common purpose.

Otto would have liked that.

The day was beautiful, with a cloudy, blustery morning, which gave way to the startling Colorado blue winter afternoon sky of the sort that seems to appear only in our valley.

Afterward, we had cookies and coffee and conversation, often with people we hadn’t seen in years. I hadn’t spoken to Carol Angevine in more than 20 years, even though we have winter homes less than a mile from each other. I could see many others greeting people they hadn’t seen in a long time, renewing old acquaintances and promising to keep more in touch.

Otto would have liked that, too.

For those of you who are summer people, and who were denied the pleasure of this occasion, I can only say that those of us who were there included you in our thoughts and our memories as we celebrated Otto.

It’s true that he would have been ambivalent about it; he would have been pleased that we had a memorial service, but he would have told us, finally, “Get out and get on with it.” He would have said that because that’s how he lived. He was a number of different people at different times, as we all are, but he was always getting on with it, and in the end he left Allenspark a better place because he was a part of it. We could all hope someone will say that about us when we’re gone.

So we’re getting on with it. But, at least for the time being, it isn’t as much fun as it used to be.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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