Richard Clair Chermak
January 15, 1952 ~ February 27, 2022
Richard Clair Chermak passed away Sunday, February 27th, 2022, at his residence in Hotchkiss, Colorado. He was 70 years old.
A celebration of his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 13th, 2022, at North Fork High School in Hotchkiss, Colorado.
Richard “Rick” was born on January 15th, 1952, to Mary Jo (Pecharich) and Clair Francis Chermak, in Delta, Colorado. He spent his childhood on family ranches in Paonia and Crested Butte. Rick graduated from Hotchkiss High School in 1970, and continued his education at Colorado State University, earning his first Bachelor’s Degree in Micro Biology. He earned a second Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from Western State College a year later.
Carpentry was a lifelong passion. He was always ready to help friends or family with projects and always had a project going at home. As the owner/operator of Sterling Construction, and possessing a California General Contractor license, he built Domino’s Pizza operations and rebuilt homes for the insurance repair industry. Rick also worked in the oil and gas industry setting wells and designing pumps for various applications.
Rick began a career in the mining industry first at the Oxbow Mining Elk Creek Mine before moving on, after four years, to a career at Arch Resources West Elk Mine - both in Somerset, CO. July would have marked his 26th year at West Elk. He began as a ram car driver and furthered his career as a boss and coordinator after running every piece of equipment underground. Although Rick moved into management positions outside the mine, his loyalty and priorities were to the underground and surface employees. He often stated, “I began as a coal miner and I will leave as a coal miner.” His last position was Project Director for West Elk Mine.
September 4th, 1988, Rick married Cristen Rae Thomas. They were married for 33 years. Rick loved his family and spending time with them. His favorite saying was, “Always stay humble and kind!”
Rick is survived by his loving wife, Cristen Chermak of Hotchkiss, CO; two daughters: Megan Chermak of Delta, CO and Mandi Chermak of London, UK; mother-in-law Norma Thomas, sister-in-law Lori; and sisters: Janie Chermak (Bob Patrick) of Albuquerque, NM, Linda (Keith) Glaxner of Hotchkiss, CO, and Trish (Paul) Schmucker of Hotchkiss, CO. As well as many nieces, nephews, and other relatives. All will miss having him in their lives.
Rick has been reunited with daughter Mary, sister Betty, his parents, grandparents and his father-in-law James Thomas.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to North Fork Ambulance Service and Hope West.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Taylor Funeral Service and Crematory.
View the internet obituary and sign the online guest registry at: