Sidney and Audrey Dickinson, Parade Marshals
After all the places Sidney and Audrey Dickinson have lived in the world, they have chosen Gunnison to call home. It’s where Sidney (his grandkids call him “Punka”) graduated from college; it’s where Audrey graduated from high school. But this is the second time around for them.
Sidney, born in Salida, Colo., attended Western State Colorado University (then called Western State College) on a football scholarship. There, he met his Gunnison native wife, and from there, the two explored the world – via the military, that is. Sidney joined the Air Force, an occupation that kept him air-borne for 22 years.
After initially completing Aviation Cadets and B-26 training, he piloted a plane to Korea, only to learn the war had ended while he was en route. His next step was the Rescue Squadron in Reno, Nev., with world-wide deployment. His many aviation experiences included flying special air missions in Japan for four years, checking flight navigational aids in Germany for another four years and spending a tour in Viet Nam. During much of his international flying career, Audrey and the kids (two by this time) were with him. His son was born in Japan and his daughter graduated high school in Germany.
Eventually, the family came back to Gunnison so Sidney could finish his master’s degree. He then taught special education for 10 years. He also took charge of the photo-finish images for the Cattlemen’s Days races for 15 years.
After 10,000 flying hours, he “never wants to see another plane again.” But, according to Audrey, he builds airplane models in his spare time. She prefers gardening and reading. The couple have 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren – the ninth due by this year’s Cattlemen’s Days.
Note: The Cattlemen’s Days Committee is saddened to share that Sidney Dickinson passed away earlier this spring.
Curtis Starkebaum, Parade Marshal
Recent Gunnisonites who have visited the veterinary clinic on the hill just west of town may be unaware of how long it’s been there. Old timers know it was started decades ago by Dr. Curtis Starkebaum, DVM., one of this year’s Cattlemen’s Days Parade Marshals.
Born in Haxtun, Colo., Curtis graduated from Colorado A&M in 1945. He then served four years in the U.S. Army and two years in the veterinary corps in Germany. He moved to Gunnison in 1950 and called this valley home for the next 43 years. Curtis and his wife, Alice, raised four sons – all who graduated from Gunnison High School. For two decades, “Doc” was the only animal doctor in town, serving as the official veterinarian for Cattlemen’s Days and doctoring stock from local Hereford ranches. He also treated cows and calves owned by Dan Thornton, governor of Colorado from 1951 to 1955 and who owned the Thornton Hereford Ranch in Gunnison. If that didn’t keep Curtis busy enough, this country veterinarian taught biology classes part time for 22 years at Western State College (now Western State Colorado University).
Curtis and Alice also made time for additional community commitments: Curtis belonged to the local volunteer fire department for 20 years and was a board member for the Fire Protection District for 10 more. He chaired the Gunnison County Planning Commission when it adopted its first land-use resolution, and for 41 years served in the (now dissolved) Lions Club, a community service organization. Alice belonged to Cowbells, now Gunnison Valley Cattlewomen.
These days, Curtis lives on the Front Range. Besides his four sons (one still lives in Gunnison), he has seven grandchildren.