February 6, 1948 – October 30, 2020
Douglas David DeCosta, long-time resident of Yampa, Colorado, died at the age of 72 on October 30th after a short battle with medical complications triggered by COVID-19.
Doug was born in Oakland, California, and grew up in small-town Orinda, attending Miramonte High School through his junior year. In 1965, the DeCosta family moved to Pebble Beach, where Doug graduated from Pacific Grove High School in 1966. At both schools, he was active in football, baseball, and basketball. After high school, Doug spent time at San Jose State, UCLA, and UC Berkley before traveling the country, finally landing in Colorado where he met his wife, Claudia. Doug and Claudia were married in January of 1977 and purchased a small ranch just south of Yampa in the spring of the same year. The DeCosta Ranch is a well-established part of South Routt County, raising hay, cattle, and nearly every other type of livestock at one time or another over the last four decades. Truly, Doug loved every inch of the nearly 100 acres of his ranch and leaves a prosperous and well-cared-for patchwork of meadows, corrals, and barns behind.
In 1985, Doug started the Colorado Hay Company with Claudia as bookkeeper and office support. The company grew over the next several decades to ship hay all across the country to other ranches, high-profile racetracks, pet food processors, and even an elephant sanctuary here and there. Doug also co-founded the Colorado Hay and Forage Association and served as President from 1988-1994, earning him recognition from his peers and cementing him as a leader in the field across the country. He was also an active member of the National Hay Association. Never retiring, Doug continued to enjoy traveling across Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado, looking at haystacks and “shooting the breeze”. There was never a time in the last 35 years that his truck bed did not hold at least one sample bale or cardboard box of hay.
Doug’s other long-time passion was music. He played the guitar skillfully and had a beautiful singing voice. He entertained friends and family every chance that he could, often just singing around a campfire. Doug’s love of music and his Christian faith frequently intertwined. He led worship services in several area churches over the years, even producing a few recordings that his family treasures to this day. Doug and his band, the Green Ridge Ramblers, were a fixture for years at Yampa’s annual Fourth of July celebration and again in the fall at Oak Creek’s Labor Day festivities. His lively performances will be sincerely missed.
Doug will be forever remembered by his wife of 43 years, Claudia; his children Lea, Annie, and Johnny (Samantha); sisters Jorene (Chris) and Bev (Chan); grandson David and granddaughter Dottie Jean; niece Christi (Eric) and nephews Dusty and Scott (Misty); great-niece Jade and great-nephews Mark, Beau, Logan, and Mason. Doug was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Irene, son Danny, and son-in-law Charley.
At this time, no services are being planned until it is safer to travel and gather. A tentative celebration of Doug’s life will be scheduled in Yampa in July.
The DeCosta family wishes to extend a sincere thanks to the all the medical personnel, both locally and in Ft. Collins, who worked diligently and compassionately to treat Doug.