Influential, longtime public servant for Routt County Nancy Stahoviak dies

Nancy Stahoviak attended a Routt County Board of Commissioner's meeting in July 2011.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

Longtime public servant Nancy Stahoviak, who held the District 1 Routt County commissioner’s seat from 1993-2013, died Tuesday, Jan.25, at the Doak Walker Care Center at Casey’s Pond.

According to those who worked with her over the years, Stahoviak was dedicated to the county and diligent in her work.

“Nancy was just a pillar,” said Doug Monger, who was elected to the Routt County Board of Commissioners in 2000. “She was just so thorough in her work, as well. If you wanted to know what the specifics on anything were, you would ask her because she spent the time and the hard work of going through all the papers that we might be presented, whether it was an oil and gas application, or subdivision or any of that stuff.”

While Stahoviak made a point to educate herself on the issues, Monger said Stahoviak sought out as many perspectives as possible, and her end goal was to always represent the people of Routt County, even if her some of her decisions went against the way she felt personally.

“She was just totally thorough in being able to present her case, and yet she would listen, too,” Monger said. “She didn’t prejudge things. She listened to the arguments and then had the information right at hand to be able to go through it, make a critical decision, stand by it, feel good and justify it.”

Monger appreciated the way Stahoviak approached issues and the way she helped guide the communities they served.

“She was just so dedicated to her job, and she took very seriously being elected by her citizens and that she was representing them,” Monger said.

Kathy Connell, who served on Steamboat Springs City Council from 1997 until 2005, said Stahoviak’s played a key role in helping city council and Routt County commissioners build a more productive relationship in the late 1990s.

“When I was president of the city council, and she was chairman of the commissioners we got so much done,” Connelll said. “She was really instrumental in bringing back the county and city relations.”

In her time as a commissioner, Stahoviak tackled a number of tough issues — everything from gravel pits to subdivision development in the county — but her greatest gift was her ability to bring people together, Connell said.

“She was a big consensus person as far as getting people working together for a common goal even though they came from different perspectives,” Connell said. “We got the Airport Advisory Commission started, and that was a huge step for our community, both for the Hayden airport and the Steamboat airport. We did that jointly and cooperatively, and I think that’s a huge legacy.”

Monger said that Stahoviak also played a key role in bringing purchase of development rights to Steamboat Springs, as well as making guidelines for the size of subdivisions in Routt County.

Stahoviak’s career as a public servant began as volunteer, then as an Oak Creek town board member and finally as a commissioner, which began in 1993.

Connell said Stahoviak endured a number of setbacks during her career, including a lengthy illness that resulted in the amputation of a portion of her left leg, which left her in a wheel chair, and a car accident.

However, Stahoviak’s friends never saw those setbacks slow her or her commitment to the community she served, and Stahoviak retired from being a county commissioner in 2013.

“I think she taught this community grace and courage,” Connell said. “And all that she went through all those years, she always had a smile on her face, never complained about it, and you know, you don’t see that a lot these days.”

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