Obituary: Carla Portigal |

Obituary: Carla Portigal

Carla Portigal
Carla Portigal
Provided Photo

March 17, 1948 – September 24, 2022

On Saturday, September 24, 2022, Carla Portigal, loving mother and vibrant community member, passed away at age 74.
Originally from California, Carla moved to Denver pursuing her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Denver. Outgoing, compassionate, and driven, Carla spent over 40 years serving the community of the Yampa Valley. Carla guided thousands of people and their families through the journey of mental health, through on-call emergency crisis response, private counseling, couples therapy, youth services, and numerous group classes and clinics. Recognizing that mental health was underserved in rural communities, Carla was a key force in establishing such organizations as Advocates Building Peaceful Communities, United Way of Routt County, and the Human Resource Coalition. Always one to help foster connections, Carla was also a founding member of the Har Mispachat Jewish community of Steamboat. She was named woman of the year in 1984.

Carla and her late husband, Tony Gunnell, moved to Routt County in 1977 to live the Rocky Mountain lifestyle, and be a part of a social services system that would allow people of mixed faiths to adopt children. After many years of waiting, Carla and Tony adopted their two children, Danya and Cameron Gunnell. Carla passed on her love of the outdoors and travel, as well as her creativity and deep caring for others.

An intrepid traveler, avid reader, spiritualist, and ever the life of the party, Carla shared her energy, passion, and unmistakable laugh with her friends and neighbors through book clubs, meditation circles, Strings in the Mountain, The All Broads Kazoo Band, school/sports bake sales, and countless other community happenings.

Earlier this year, Carla was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. With the loving care of her family, friends, and amazing circle of supporters in hospice and heathcare, Carla continued to live with passion and service through her struggle with the disease. She was able to pass peacefully in her home with her children by her side.

A memorial bench will be dedicated in her honor along the Core Trail, creating a spot for everyone to take a moment to rest, reflect, and bask in the beauty of this valley Carla loved so deeply.

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