Ryan Tyler Watson: Remembering an Oak Creek ‘trailblazer’
Anyone that knows me well would likely agree I am no model citizen. I’m also not sure how close I am to qualifying as a “nice guy” either. My point being: I am no one to stand on a pedestal and preach values.
But I do consider myself a better person for having been raised in South Routt County, largely because of the people I was lucky enough to have around me. Sadly, a beloved member of that community, whom I cared for dearly, is no longer with us.
Jackie Saputo of Oak Creek passed away on Saturday morning, June 24 after residing in the area for more than three decades. Having moved earnestly from Chicago to Colorado in the late 1970’s, at the age of 35, eager to embrace a small-town mountain life and willing to tackle raising her boy-quickly-turning-man-child Perry all on her own — I consider Jackie a bit of a trailblazer.
More importantly, you’d have been hard-pressed to meet anyone as gentle and selfless as Jackie. She also loved Oak Creek — or “The Ditch” as many of us lovingly call the spunky backwater to city-slick Steamboat – about as much as anyone can.
Clearly, I’m biased when it comes to Jackie (when I was growing up in Soroco in the 1980s and ’90s, she was about the only parent who didn’t give me the deserved side-eye) but while searching for truth in reminiscence, I am struck with how emblematic she is of what makes all of Routt County extraordinary. Like many others who also call the area home, Jackie was equal parts compassionate and independent, sprinkled with dashes of true grit.
As her gracious spirit moves on to whatever next chapter the universe holds in store, my wish is that the bedrocks of what made her special to many of us will continue to thrive and occasionally blossom anew in the small neck of the woods so many of us will forever think of as home.
A celebration of life potluck, which is open to everyone, will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, June 30 at Decker Park in Oak Creek.
Ryan Tyler Watson
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Editor’s note: Ryan Tyler Watson is a journalist with Bloomberg News in Brazil.
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