Richard E. Kroeckel Jr.
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Richard E. Kroeckel Jr., passed away unexpectedly October 11, 2020. Dick was born in Indianapolis, IN into a family of piano players, he was taught to play by his aunt and quickly found his calling with ragtime. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army working with entertainment tours during his time in the service. Following his service, he returned to his home in Colorado, where he entertained in many towns over the years including Central City, Georgetown, Durango, Estes Park, and Denver just to name a few.

Dick had a large following as an entertainer and was famous for both his piano playing and storytelling. His other great passion in life was trains, he worked as a brakeman on the Durango & Silverton Railroad for four years before going back to entertaining. Not only did Dick enjoying playing piano he also had a large collection of player pianos that he worked on and reconstructed in his home workshop.

Dick will be deeply missed by his sister Copper (Jim) Darlinger; brother Van Kroeckel; brother in law Ed Ray; nieces Missy (Tom) Saggau and Courtney Ray; great-nephews: Charlie Saggau, Brodie Saggau, and Tobie Bookstaver and numerous cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents Richard and Mary Lou Kroeckel and his sister De Ray.

Visitation will be Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 3-7:00 PM, Army Honors at 6:00 PM in the Olinger Crown Hill Chapel of Peace.



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Published in The Durango Herald on Oct. 16, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
OCT
24
Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
October 25, 2020
I met Dick when my parents Duane and Helen Burk moved to Blackhawk in 1964. They loved to hear Dick play. I did too. I remember some of our antics that summer and the next. Dick even came to visit us in Illinois when he was touring with Al Fike. My husband was from Durango, so we got to see him in several places over the years when we came home for visits. Rest in peace dear friend. Hope you and Cindy are playing for Mom and Dad.
Sandy Burk Billings
Friend
October 24, 2020
Dick, it is sad to hear of your passing. But, I clearly remember all of the times I listened to your great music and enjoyed all of the Rag Time color you brought out of the music. The Diamond Belle was alive with your movement on the keys. I almost bought one of your player pianos and still have several roles that you gave me.
My brother, I miss you, you inspired in me a love of piano. The world has lost a great entertainer, but your music will never go away.

Rest well my friend...love you brother...pab
Paul Baye
Friend
October 23, 2020
Dick was a fantastic Ragtime piano player andva good friend of my good friend Cindy Persichette. They both played piano at Shakey's Pizza in Arvada, several bars in Central City. Dick will be missed by many. May he Rest In Peace and prayers for his family and friends. ✝
Mary Edgerton
Mary Edgerton
Friend
October 23, 2020
I just learned of my cousin DICK’s passing. Although I was 7 years his junior I remember him as a teenager taking apart my grandfather’s Aeolian duo art player grand piano to learn how it worked. I still have that piano operating in my home with 400 rolls. Whenever my parents and I would travel through Denver we would head up to Central City or Georgetown to hear DICK play. Whenever I hear a ragtime piano I can’t help but think of my cousin’s awesome talent and gift to the world.
Lenzy Hendrix
Family
October 19, 2020
I met Dick in 1968 when he came to Georgetown, He was playing at The Silver Queen, and The Red Ram. My grandmother Edith Dick, would have adopted Dick if she could have, My parents, Dick and Bobbie Bennett loved him as well. We all had a great time that summer when Dick played piano at the Melodrama . that began a friendship that has lasted for 50 years. I like to think they are having a grand time in Heaven.
Barbara Bennett
Friend
October 18, 2020
I met Dick in 1965, when we were stationed at Ft. Polk. I was in Special Services, the entertainment division. We performed in many shows together. He was a brilliant player, the best interpreter of W.C. Handy ever. A great guy and a generous friend. He will be mussed by many friends and fans.
Gene Jones
Friend
October 17, 2020
I met Dick 50 years ago when we both worked at the Diamond Belle Saloon in Durango, Co. He entertaining on the piano and me tending bar. We got together from time to time through the years but finally lost touch. Dick was a good man, a wonderful entertainer, and a good friend. I will miss him, as will many that he touched in his life.
Cliff Swanson
Friend
October 17, 2020
I met Dick 50 years ago when we both worked at the Diamond Belle saloon in Durango, Co. We would get together once in a while but finally lost touch. Dick was a good man, wonderful entertainer, and a good friend. I will miss him, as will many he touched in his life.
Cliff Swanson
Friend
October 17, 2020
I did not know Dick personally but sure loved hearing him play when I was able to find him at the Strater Hotel in Durango. He had such a gift and seemed to get a kick out of entertaining. He had a huge grin on his face and that cigar clenched between his teeth as he played every song requested by his audience. His tip jar was always full by the end of the night. What a talent!! Delia Bell
Delia Bell
Acquaintance
October 16, 2020
My mother, Marietta Golder, would drag me down to the Belle to listen to you play. You guys became very good friends and i began to enjoy your "rag time" music. I loved the "Music Box Dancer" ( you hated playing it) but you would play it every time i walked in the door to the Belle. You have been and will be greatly missed Dick. Say hi to my mom and dad....
JILL O'Rand
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