Robert Kendrick

Robert Kendrick was born in Leadville Aug. 12, 1930. He passed away July 28.

Kendrick was the grandson of pioneers, with both of his grandfathers and their brothers having hiked over Mosquito Pass to Leadville in January of 1879. They settled in Leadville, Twin Lakes and Glenwood Springs.

Raised in Leadville, Kendrick attended the Ninth Street Grammar School and graduated from Leadville High School in 1948. He originally wanted to be a forester, thus attended Colorado A and M after graduation. However, he found his true calling to be mining, so he enrolled at the Colorado School of Mines, graduating as a mining engineer in 1954. Later he attended the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He married Marian Caster in 1954 and they remained active partners in every aspect of their lives for 65 years.

He enjoyed a long and productive career, starting at the Climax Mine as a laborer underground in 1954 and advancing through the management ranks in AMAX. During his early years at Climax, he was a founder and an original member of the Lake County Planning Commission. As part of his sense of civic responsibility and visionary leadership, he worked with Al Smith and others to bring TV to Leadville.

Among his professional accomplishments, he was the mine superintendent at the Urad Mine, initiating the caving system there. He was the mine superintendent at the Henderson Mine during development stages of the mine and was responsible for sinking the main shaft of the Henderson Mine, crossing the Vasquez fault and dewatering the mine. He wrote an important paper on mass caving techniques at this time, and it is still used in reference books. He set up the first Environmental Group for AMAX Corporation, establishing ground-breaking environmental practices across the industry. He directed the Exploration and Development Group at AMAX in the early 1970s. He returned to Climax in the mid-1970s where he managed the effort to establish an open-pit mine over what was, at the time, the world’s largest mass-caving system, and led Climax through its highest production years. At this time, he served on Colorado Governor Lamm’s Labor Board. He ended his time with AMAX as the vice president of western operations, responsible for both the Climax and Henderson properties. He then went on to be the CEO of Monarch Resources, establishing producing gold mines in the Guayana Region of Venezuela. He, like his father and grandfather before him, was civic-minded and thus went to work for USAID in the mid-1990s, following the end of the Cold War. At USAID he helped formerly centrally-planned economies transition into the world market-based system. These assignments were in Siberia (in the winter), Kazakhstan and Argentina.

He was a founding trustee of the National Mining Hall of Fame and worked hard to help ensure its placement in Leadville.

He was a very energetic man who loved adventure, travel, and the outdoors in all its forms, a love he transmitted to his family. He was a fly-fisherman and backpacker from a young age. An avid skier, in college was a skimeister, competing in slalom, downhill, jumping and cross-country. He was a skijorer, and won one of the early Winter Carnival skijoring events with his partner, Mugs Osmond. He ran the Climax ski hill and worked on the ski patrol the opening year at Vail. With his burro, “Snowflake,” he finished 5th in the 26-mile burro race from Leadville to Fairplay over the 13,186-foot Mosquito Pass. He scuba dived all over the South Pacific, Australia and the Caribbean. He ran, was a telemark ski instructor, a cross country ski racer, and a water skier (who built his own speed boat with his wife Marian).

He was said to be a quiet practitioner of doing what you could to make the world a little bit better place than you found it. He was an early supporter of wilderness, believing some lands should be left undeveloped for future generations. He taught GED classes in the 1960s in Denver, promoted the first non-white male to the management ranks at Climax in 1965, removed the profitable road signs from his ranch when Lady Bird Johnson called for a more beautiful America, and worked to improve water quality and fish habitat at the Climax Mine. He was a lifelong advocate of hiring the disabled.

He led the effort to restore the underground mine at Georgetown for the State Historical Society in 1968. His lengthy association with the 10th Mountain Hut System began when he befriended members of the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale as a young teenager during WWII, and they taught him how to ski. Later in life, he donated land to the 10th Mountain Association for further expansion of the extensive Hut System.

Most significantly, he and Marian raised five children, passing on to each of them his love of reading, a sense of compassion for others, an ethic of always doing your best, the value of hard work, a love of the outdoors, the thrill of sport and competition, an awareness of the importance of civic involvement and geopolitical issues, his fun sense of humor, and the deep value of the importance of education.

He is preceded in passing by his mother Alcia Harlan Kendrick, his father Frank E. Kendrick, Jr., his brother Frank E. Kendrick III, and his sister Rowena Ehlenfeldt.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 65 years, Marian Kendrick, and their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren: Michael Kendrick (Gail Mizner) and their children, Matthew and Zachary; Melissa Kendrick and her children, Jessica and Erin; Peter Kendrick (Valerie Cotta); Gina Kendrick Sheldrake (Leigh Sheldrake) and their children, Tucker and Zoe; Robert A. Kendrick and his children, Ernesto and Jordan Lohman; and three great grandchildren: Katalina, Kooper and Kourtney Lohman.

Memorial services will be held at Annunciation Church, Leadville, at a date to be determined. Anyone wishing to contact the family may email randmkendrick@gmail.com.

The Kendrick family request that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Lake County (Colorado) Open Space Initiative, www.LCOSI.com.