Remembering Paul Robertson: A life of passion and service
A little over a month ago, Grand County lost one of its leading community members with the passing of Search and Rescue Field Director and Granby Town Trustee Paul Robertson.
His death, from complications related to gastric cancer, was a surprising blow to many citizens of Middle Park as well as Robertson’s wife of nearly 25 years, Gretchen. Robertson’s life story, as recounted by his wife, was one of passion and service with a deep abiding love of the community he had called his home for the past several years.
“Paul always had a keen sense of curiosity about virtually everything,” Gretchen said. “He was always the first to help people. He had a great ability to keep his head in a crisis and could remain calm and evaluate things; and smile while he was doing it.”
Originally from St. Paul, Minn., Robertson attended Macalester College where he studied biology, initially thinking he would go into the medical field but instead opting to go into medical sales.
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The Robertsons came to Grand County in 2010 via Indianapolis, where the couple had lived for many years working in the medical sales industry. Throughout Paul’s life, he and Gretchen, as well as their daughter, Alex, would travel throughout the western United States skiing at the various resorts across the Rockies.
In 2001 they visited Camp Hale, the training facility of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain ski troops during World War II, to release the ashes of Gretchen’s father, who had served in the 10th Mountain.
“We said that someday we were going to live out here,” Gretchen said.
In the summer of 2007 they were vacationing in Vail and decided to check out some real estate in Granby, with an eye towards their long-held dream of moving to the high country.
“We loved the town, and everyone was so friendly. It just took us another three years to wrap up our lives in Indianapolis,” Gretchen said.
As Gretchen looked back on their life together a few cherished memories were at the forefront of her mind, including the time she and Paul first met.
“He was doing a presentation at a medical sales conference. I was in the audience,” she said. “He told me that he looked up into the crowd and the only thing he could see was my face. He said he had no idea who he was, or where I lived but that I was his person.”
She added, with a laugh, that Paul “conspired” to sit with her that evening at the conference’s dinner. “It was destined,” she said.
Paul’s Christian faith was also fundamental part of his life, according to Gretchen. Gretchen was raised a Catholic but Paul came into the fold later in life. Prior to his passing he had started studying to become a Catholic and he received his sacrament the week before his death.
During his time in Middle Park Robertson worked extensively with Grand County Search and Rescue, serving as the organization’s field director and also served as a town trustee for several years. His service to the community was a defining factor of his life in Colorado. He was still attending and actively engaged in town board meetings just prior to his admittance to the hospital prior to his death.
“The seven-and-a-half years that we lived in Granby were the best years of Paul’s life,” Gretchen said. “He built exactly the kind of life he wanted.”
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