Merrill George Hastings Jr.
Merrill G. Hastings Jr., 85, passed away April 30, 2008, at his ranch in McCoy.
Merrill was born May 12, 1922, in Dedham, Mass.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Air Force, then transferred to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale, then became a medic with the American Field Service in support of the British 8th Army Division in the European sector.
He returned to Colorado after the war, where he began his career as an organizational force in the ski industry. He helped build Arapahoe Ski Basin, directed Berthoud Pass Ski School in 1947, began early certification efforts for ski instructors, and founded the national ski industry trade show effort.
He married Priscilla Brayton of Fall River, Mass., in 1948, and later that year they published the first issue of “Rocky Mountain Skiing,” which eventually developed into the nationally-recognized “Skiing” magazine. Ten years later, Hastings published the first issue of “Winter Sports, followed by the launch of “Colorado Rocky Mountain West” magazine in 1965.
Hastings launched “Colorado Business” magazine in 1973, and also began a career of leadership for wilderness development, protection initiatives and animal preservation efforts. He wrote white papers and legislative bills for national leaders and did not shy away from a good fight with misinformed or misdirected bureaucrats.
He was a co-founder of the Colorado Trail in cooperation with the United States Forest Service.
Survivors include his companion and recent wife, Joanne; daughter Deborah of Durango; and son Bill of Lakewood.
He was preceded in death by his first wife; and son Peter.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Shaw Regional Cancer Center, P.O. Box 1529, Vail CO 81658.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.