Robert Fuller Risch of Estes Park died on May 5, 2021 at the Life Care Center of Longmont at the age of 95. Bob was born to Gus and Verna Risch of Brookings, SD on March 30, 1926. Gus was a farmer and by the time Bob reached high school he had become indispensable to the running of the family farm. When Bob entered the US Navy in 1944, Gus quit farming and moved his family in to town. At the conclusion of WWII, Bob returned to Brookings, South Dakota to attend South Dakota State University, graduating in 1949 with a B. S. in Electrical Engineering.
Bob married Roberta Coxe, also from South Dakota and a graduate of SDSU. Roberta was teaching school in Brookings, South Dakota when they met.
Bob began his working years with the Rural Electrification Association, pioneering the development of the electric grid in rural areas. Bob and Roberta lived in Coleman, SD for 4 years, LeMars, Iowa for 2 years, and Emerson, NE for 7½ years. During that time, they had two children, Curtis and Nancy.
In 1962 Bob and Roberta and their children moved to Denver, Colorado where Bob worked for Tri-State Generation and Transmission as chief engineer – again working with rural power distribution but on a much larger scale. In 1976, the eastern and western power grids of the United States were tied together for the first time at Stegall, Nebraska and Bob was involved in making that happen.
In 1979 Bob became the Executive Director of Missouri Basin Systems Group – still working with rural power but now focused on future planning. At this point, Bob and Roberta began living in Estes Park, Colorado, on weekends. Eventually Bob was able to move his office to Estes Park and they began living there full-time. By the time Bob retired in 1988, he had become concerned that government over-regulation was inhibiting the growth of power production to the extent that severe power shortages were on the horizon. In 1993, Bob received the Distinguished Engineer Award from his alma mater, South Dakota State University.
Bob was a stalwart member of Estes Park Baptist Church, serving in various capacities including Chairman of the Board of Deacons and Church Treasurer. He also served on the Executive Board of the Longs Peak Association of Southern Baptists and the Executive Board of the Colorado Baptist General Convention. Beginning in 1979, Bob was active in Gideons International. He was a founding member of the Estes Park Gideon Camp and served as president of Colorado Gideons International from 1977 - 1979. He is a Past Commander of American Legion Post #60 in Emerson, Nebraska as well as Past Master of the Masonic Lodge there.
Bob is preceded in death by his wife, Roberta (Coxe); his son, Curtis; his twin sister, Marian Miller (Bruce); and his brother, John. Bob is survived by his daughter Nancy Strohm (Tacoma, WA); three grandchildren, Alan (Seattle, WA), Autumn (Fairbanks, AK), and Deanna (Tacoma, WA); two great-grandchildren (Ion and Louis); his brother Earl (Brookings, SD) and his sister Lynette Johnson (Loren) of Estes Park.
There will be a graveside service at 10:00 a.m. on May 15th at Estes Valley Memorial Gardens. Friends and family are encouraged to attend. Memorials in his name may be given to Gideons International through the Allnutt Funeral Home 1302 Graves Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. For further information contact Allnutt Funeral Services.
Please visit www.allnuttestespark.com to share your memories.