David Robert Schutz (Dave) passed away peacefully at home in the company of his family on Friday, March 20, 2020. Dave was born February 5, 1942, in Denver, CO, to George Schutz and Hattie (Stirling) Schutz. He was raised between Estes Park and Loveland as a young child. Dave’s father was killed in World War II in England in 1944. His mother remarried to George Thomson, and the family moved to Artesia, CO, (now Dinosaur) for a time before she passed away in 1952. Following her death, Dave and his sister, Kittie, were raised by their grandmother, Bessie Schutz, in Loveland. Dave graduated from Loveland High School and attended the University of Hawaii before joining the US Army Medical Corps from 1964-66. He returned to Estes Park in 1966 to care for his grandfather, renowned Estes Park artist Dave Stirling. In 1972, Dave married his wife of more than 47 years, Cheryl (Oltjenbruns) Schutz.
He worked at the Elkhorn Lodge, Wheel Bar, and then Timberline Steakhouse, where for 31 years he was a bartender and later manager. Some years after that, Lavona Slack brought Dave out of semi-retirement to work at the Taffy Shop, and he became known to friends, family, and many tourists as the “Taffy Man” who could often be seen in the front window working the taffy wrapping machine. Taking after his grandfather, Dave was also an artist and a member of the arts community in Estes Park. In addition to his own works, Dave helped to restore the Buell Porter Christmas displays that are seen throughout Estes Park during the holiday season. Dave enjoyed hiking and cross-country skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park with his family, music of all kinds (but mostly folk), and assembling mind-boggling collections of art, antiques and oddities, not the least of which are his massive collection of National Geographic magazines and books and his sprawling record collection. He was also active in the community through Jaycees, Cultural Arts Center, Fine Arts Guild, and High Drive Homeowners’ Association. In the words of close friend and prominent artist Greig Steiner, “Dave had his paw in every dog-pile in town and will be sorely missed for his involvement and help with a thousand projects and events over the years.”
In addition to his parents, Dave is preceded in death by his sister, Kitty (Schutz) Collins and nephew, Marty Collins. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl, of Estes Park; his son, Dave, of Denver, CO; and nieces Debbie (Collins) Barone of Saratoga, CA, and Cindy (Collins) Loeffler of Austin, TX.
A memorial service will be planned at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Art Center of Estes Park at www.artcenterofestes.com.