Paul William Beaber
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When some people think of community leaders, they might envision the mayor, president of the chamber of commerce, or director of a big non-profit. But folks in Silverton, Colorado, are just as likely to think of Paul Beaber. The "Beabs" was never mayor, but he was a fixture of the town all the same, embodying the notion of Silverton in a way that few others do.

Paul was there on his kicksled at the Silverton Sparking Sled Rodeo, which he started and organized, wearing the hat emblazoned with the logo of the Silverton Mountain School, the non-profit quiet-use recreation group Paul founded, which had over 200 members. He was there with tuba in his arms when the Silverton Brass Band played on summer evenings as alpenglow set Kendall Mountain afire. He helped his wife, Mary, organize the Silverton Hillside Cemetery workday for a decade. He was instrumental in helping bring KSUT to Silverton. And when the nordic track at the Hillcrest golf course wore thin, he could be found shoveling snow onto the bare spots to make sure skiers could still get in some kicking and gliding.

And so it is that as we bid farewell to the Beabs-aka the Yeti of Hematite Basin-we also say goodbye to an integral part of our high country community and a man infused with the unique San Juan Mountain spirit. Paul died on March 31, 2021.

Paul William Beaber was born in the Silverton Miners Hospital on March 19, 1949 to Frances (Swisher) and Ross Beaber, who ran the Silverton Standard newspaper for years. Paul grew up in the John and Amanda Cotton House, which is one of the oldest remaining homes in Silverton. Paul attended Silverton High School, where he participated in nordic and alpine skiing, basketball, and played tuba in the school band, graduating in 1967.

He went on to Colorado State University, graduating in 1971 with a degree in Social Work, and worked as a counselor at Golden Gate Youth Camp.

In March 1974, Paul married Mary Jeffries and they moved to Durango, Colorado, where he got work as a temporary survey technician, launching him on his life's career. Paul worked for Goff Engineering/Surveying in Durango and for the Bureau of Reclamation at Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona. He acquired his Colorado land surveyor's license in 1987.

For 27 years, Paul was a Land Surveyor/Realty Specialist for the San Juan National Forest, finally retiring in 2005. Paul surveyed and marked more than 350 miles of National Forest boundary, worked on land exchanges, large land purchases, and acquisitions of right-of-ways for USFS trails.

Beaber, an active skier, and hiker, volunteered in the late 1990s to help reopen Silverton's Kendall Mountain Ski area after 24 years of closure. He had skied at the original incarnation of the ski hill as a youngster in the 1960s.

Paul was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Frank Earl and Lawrence Beaber. He is survived by his wife, Mary, of 47 years, brother, Steve Beaber, cousins and numerous nieces and nephews.

Those wishing to remember Paul can make a contribution to the San Juan County Historical Society, PO Box 154, Silverton, CO 81433

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Durango Herald on Apr. 7, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
April 10, 2021
For 2 years 1976-1978. Paul and Mary would invite this lonely Ed guy over to their house every Monday in fall and winter watch Monday Night Football. I had a suspicion that they never really liked football they just did it for me. It’s been a long time but I will always remember their kindness.
Ed Hendrikson
A friend from the past
April 10, 2021
Mary, my condolences. I hope that good memories and stories will partially ease the grief. I could never keep up with Paul during work expeditions. And he took me on my first and only hike up a 14er. He was generous with his time and his love and knowledge of this area.
Katherine Foster
April 9, 2021
I often think of Paul when we both worked in the Supervisors office in Durango, CO. He was well liked by everyone & he was my supervisor for a time. Paul, RIP my friend. Mary, my condolences.
Della Zeller
April 8, 2021
So sorry to hear of Paul's Passing..... My condolences to His Friends and Family. He was a Good Guy....
John Squire
April 8, 2021
I hope Mary of Guadalupe is watching over Paul now. My deepest sympathy to you, Mary. Paul was a wonderful person. He had a very full life. So sorry for your loss, I know it is a sad time.
April 8, 2021
Paul was a man unlike any other...kind soul, helpful, caring, soft spoken, great conversationalist, quickest wit in the west, interested in our natural world, historian of Silverton and our mountains and forests, skier, hiker, lifelong learner, the list goes on and on. Paul was a great human being...they just don't make 'em like that any more..he will be greatly missed by many .. RIP Paul.. the mountains are calling..
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