Carbondale author, artist Stan Badgett remembered for broad interests, love of mountain lifestyle
Writer, builder, artist, English composition teacher, outdoors educator, caver, coal miner and Christian philosopher aren’t titles commonly associated with a single person, but aptly describe Stan Badgett.
Carbondale and the greater Roaring Fork Valley community pause this week to remember the life and times of Badgett, who died unexpectedly late last month due to complications from COVID-19. He was 74.
Badgett was a renowned local artist, painting many works including some of the large murals that can be found on the sides of buildings around the valley, as well as commission works in private homes.
Having worked in the Snowmass Coal and Mid-Continent coal mines near Carbondale and Redstone for seven years in the 1980s, he used that experience to write three books.
His personal narratives, “Rock Dust” and “Tenuous,” and a collection of stories from interviews with local coal miners contained in “Digging in the Dark” stand as documentaries to the valley’s coal-mining past.
A full obituary appeared in the Monday Post Independent and can be found online. A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Friday at the Church at Redstone.
“Coal mining was not his preferred vocation, and it was a challenge for him. But he hung in there to be able to provide for his family,” said Doug Self, longtime former pastor at the Church at Redstone, which Badgett helped to build, and later the Church at Carbondale/Orchard.
“Stan was a real renaissance man,” Self said. “He was just an amazing guy who could talk to philosophers and coal miners and have a great conversation.”
He was also a “thoughtful Christian,” Self recalled, “… Not shallow, but he liked to discuss the underpinnings of theology.”
Stan’s eldest son, Andy Badgett, remembered his father constructing a temporary shelter near Marble while building the family’s permanent home of many years using salvaged lumber.
Around that same time, he created a coloring book of natural scenes in the mountain and valley landscapes.
“That was probably his first shot at being an artist,” Andy said. “His art was very important to him, and he would always teach us to draw what you see, not what you imagine it to be.
“I always found that very useful in my career,” he said of his work as a software writer, now working in the solar energy industry.
He said his dad’s outdoor ethic and connection to nature also stands out.
“When I look at my dad’s poems and art, what he saw was a very grand, intricate view of God’s creation here in the valley,” Andy said.
Originally from Kansas, the mountains drew Stan to Colorado, where he eventually studied art at the University of Colorado.
Longtime Carbondale resident Doug Stewart met Stan and his wife of 53 years, Doreen Badgett, in 1984, and more recently was their neighbor in Thompson Corner at River Valley Ranch.
A writer himself and part of the marketing team at Colorado Mountain College for many years, Stewart wrote a story about the Badgetts building their home from salvaged products and came to know them on a more personal level.
“I just always found him to be a very bright, well-read man,” Stewart said. “We also shared some mountain adventures together, and I remember he probably kept me from perishing on Capitol Peak one time.”
Badgett was also an instructor with the Outward Bound program for several years, and later taught caving at CMC.
Later, he earned master’s degrees in language and communications from Regis University, and in English from Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.
Since 2013, he taught high school and college-level English composition to students at Liberty Classical Academy, a Christian school near New Castle.
“Stan loved teaching, and he loved the students and always challenged them to think deeply and pushed them out of their comfort zone,” said Renee Miller, head of school at Liberty.
He kept at it, even as he battled cancer in recent years, Miller recalled. Stan and Doreen also helped facilitate a mural project at the school as part of a Colorado history project around the one-room schoolhouses that once dotted the landscape and are still preserved in some places.
The mural depicts a schoolhouse with children on the playground out front.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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