The long, productive, and interesting life of Donald Lawrence Schlichting came to a peaceful end on Wednesday, October 28, 2020. He was born to Lawrence and Olive (Nash) Schlichting in Apple River, Illinois on October 10, 1927. He grew up in and around Galena, Illinois. After graduating high school, he went on to serve two terms of service in the CID during the Occupation of Japan and the Korean War. After his discharge, he entered Pharmacy School at the University of Illinois. Don moved to Durango in 1954 where he met the love of his life, Marilyn Gay Harrison. They
married in 1957 and remained devoted to one another until Gay's death in 2011.
Through the years Don learned the newspaper business from the inside. He worked in almost every department at the Durango Herald for some amount of time, eventually becoming Associate Publisher. He was thankful for his long relationship with the Ballantine family, especially Arthur and Morley, who apprenticed him along the way. Throughout his career, Mr. Schlichting, who was known for sporting hand-tied bow ties most of his working life, was a member of the Colorado Press Association, becoming president of the organization in 1986. He also sat on the Colorado Council for the Arts and Humanities, served on the Board of Directors of Southwest Colorado
Community Corrections Center in Durango and was a lifelong member of the local Lions Club. Don also helped found SnowDown in Durango and was instrumental in the Christmas Eve Luminaria Project on the 3rd Avenue Boulevard. In his early years in Durango, he was a Boy Scout leader and Girl Scout parent, helping to mentor many
Don loved the outdoors. You could often find him out hiking in the hills of southwestern Colorado or skiing Coal Bank Pass with many friends and family before Purgatory was built. He was invited to climb Mt. Everest in 1965 but chose to stay home with his wife as they awaited the arrival of their second daughter. Don was among the first modern-day explorers in Canyonlands National Park and the family spent many spring vacations 4-wheeling in the backcountry of southeastern Utah. In their later years, Mr. and Mrs. Schlichting became interested in southwestern art and loved visiting the various trading posts in New Mexico and Arizona.
He is survived by his children, Gretchen Bond and husband, Michael; Abigail Coy, husband Robert, and her children Aian, Whitman, and Sebastian and their father, Eric; Liesl Chapola and husband Pete. Don was predeceased by his parents, brother Jack, and his wife.
No services are planned at this time, but the family hopes to come together in the spring or summer of 2021 to celebrate Don's life.
Published in The Durango Herald from Nov. 2 to Nov. 3, 2020.