Friends remember longtime local Daryl Newcomb as fun-loving and caring
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Daryl Newcomb’s good friends gathered together Tuesday in his Steamboat Springs home recalling backcountry skiing adventures, camping trips in Moab, Utah, and the life of the man they were proud to call friend.
“We’re a rudderless group of ski bums without him,” longtime friend Byrne Powers said. “He can’t be replaced, and we’re lost.”
Friends said Newcomb died suddenly Saturday from an apparent heart attack while stopping by one of his favorite places, Kirby Cosmo’s BBQ and Bar in Minturn, for a bite to eat. Newcomb, who worked as a server at Café Diva for 22 years, was 59 years old.
“One of the great things for me in the last few days is the incredible gratitude that I feel towards Daryl for the way that he shaped Café Diva,” Café Diva co-owner Paul Underwood said. “There’s no way that the business would have been a success or that I would have been the person that I am today without his influence.”
Newcomb was named top server in Steamboat Pilot & Today’s Best of the Boat edition in 2012, and then a few years later, he was named Best Ski Bum — honors Underwood said his longtime employee and friend earned.
“He just had a way of creating a rapport and putting people immediately at ease and showing them that they were important and that they mattered,” Underwood said. “One of the things I’ve thought about the last few days is what makes Steamboat special, and it is not just Daryl, but people like Daryl that make our community different from other resorts.
“Maybe our base area isn’t as glamorous, but we have a caring for our community and the people in it and the people that come to visit, and we all live here and take ownership of it,” Underwood continued. “Daryl embodied that, and he was the ambassador of Steamboat Springs.”
Powers said Newcomb came to Steamboat in 1985 for the skiing and community. He enjoyed spending his days on the slopes with friends and would often listen to sports and classic music thanks to a transistor radio he would clip to his goggles.
Powers said Newcomb was the “grand poohbah” of the friend group and was the unofficial founder of “The Niners,“ a group of skiers who would meet every day at 9 a.m. at the top of the Thunderhead Gondola during the ski season.
“He kept us all in line and kept us all marching in the same way, whether it was going for happy hour or whether it was hanging out in the woods together,” Powers said. “Whatever we were doing he was always our ringleader.”
Mike Diemer said he became friends with Newcomb because the two shared a love of skiing and mountain biking, and over the years, that friendship only grew stronger.
Diemer said Newcomb represented what Steamboat is all about whether that involved serving guests at Café Diva, spending his shoulder seasons camping in Moab or carving turns in the backcountry.
“This town needs more Daryls,” Diemer said Tuesday. “Everybody loved Daryl, and he just had the best smile.”
Newcomb landed his first job in Steamboat at Remington’s Bar and Grill, which was located in the Sheraton Steamboat Resort at the base of Steamboat Resort. Over the years, he also worked as a bellman at the Sheraton and as a server at La Montana, the Steamboat Yacht Club and Riggio’s Ristorante, all of which have since closed. For the past 22 years, he has been a fixture at Café Diva.
When he wasn’t at work, Newcomb loved to head into the backcountry with good friends in search of powder and adventure. Friend Lou Albucher remembers one day this season when the group found something they were not looking for.
“We were backcountry skiing like we love to do, and some guy was lost out there, and we knew he had never been there before,” Albucher said.
He said the group could have just kept going, but Newcomb insisted on turning back and helping the man.
“He turned around and rescued this guy,” Albucher said. “He brought him all the way back to the ski area, hiked the whole way and sent him on his way to the lift.”
Later that night, Newcomb started his shift at Café Diva and ended up serving the man. Albucher said the man eventually realized Newcomb was the man who had rescued him, and they shared a few laughs, exchanged phone numbers and another friendship was born.
“He spent his live giving and being a hospitality person,” Underwood said. “He balanced that with loving his friends and his adventures and filled his soul in those ways.”
Powers said Newcomb’s parents, Sally and Bruce, live in Arizona, and his sister Christine lives in in Cortez. Newcomb’s other sister Heather passed away before him. Powers said he is planning to talk with family about holding a memorial service for his friend at some point in Steamboat.
“Daryl was a religion, and we were his disciples,” longtime friend Mike Lang said. “The same group of people would meet every Christmas, every St. Patrick’s Day, every Easter, and we’d ski together. That’s our family — our Steamboat ski family.”
Aldron Tyler, Newcomb’s best friend and a former roommate, fought back tears as he spoke of his friend Tuesday night.
“We were best ski buddies, bicycle buddies and camping buddies. We were really tight, ” Tyler said. . “We were roommates for close to 10 years … we were cohorts, and we traded text messages, constantly. Always when one person had some fun in mind, or something fun to do we would share it with the other and always took care of one another. He was really special.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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