Legacy of late fishing guide lives on through R3
Kea Hause pretty much lived on the river, from the time he was a child hanging out with friends and siblings along the banks of the Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers outside Carbondale to his many years guiding fishing trips locally and abroad.
So it’s fitting that Hause would be remembered following his unexpected death in March with an effort to protect and restore the area rivers to which he always had such a deep connection.
“We would spend our summer days camped out down on the river, fishing, building rope swings, swimming and taking naps,” said Ian Hause, Kea’s younger brother, who is helping to spearhead a special commemoration this Saturday and to honor his brother’s legacy for years to come.
Friends, fishing guides, clients and “fellow dreamers” who came to know and learn from Kea will join family members for a celebration of life from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at the Old Thompson Barn at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale. There will be food, beverages and, of course, lots of fish stories.
“He just loved the rivers, skiing and just being outdoors in any way,” Ian said. “He was also very passionate about protecting the health of the places we all enjoy.”
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To honor that passion, friends, family and fellow conservationists have established the Kea C. Hause R3 (Rivers, Riparian, Restoration) Fund, which will focus its efforts on improving river and riparian area habitat.
In partnership with the Aspen Valley Land Trust, the town of Carbondale and River Valley Ranch, donations are currently being accepted through the R3 Fund for a project to restore and improve 9,500 feet of the Crystal River as it meanders through the RVR neighborhood and golf course.
The Crystal River was named by American Rivers in 2012 as one of America’s “most endangered” rivers.
According to Ian Hause, the executive director of the RVR Master Association, the stretch of river through RVR is of particular concern because of bank erosion and a channel that’s too flat and shallow to support a healthy aquatic system.
Once the necessary funds are in place, which will include efforts to obtain various grants, work will commence to rehabilitate the stream bed and the riparian areas in RVR.
“There really could be no better legacy for Kea than the R3 Fund,” Ian said. “It’s all about protecting what we have, repairing what’s damaged and restoring sustainable recreation and environmental health to the Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers.”
A LIFE REMEMBERED
Kea Hause was 54 when he died unexpectedly in his sleep at home on March 22. He was born in Hawaii, and was named for the famous Mauna Kea volcano there.
But his parents, Ken and Adele Hause, moved back to Carbondale to teach at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, where he and his siblings ultimately attended school. Traveling and adventure filled their summers, which contributed to Kea’s love of being in the outdoors.
Kea was also known for his artistic T-shirt designs and drew the “Boneheads” cartoon for the Valley Journal newspaper in Carbondale while going to Colorado Mountain College.
An avid angler since childhood, he spent many years as a fly-fishing guide for Taylor Creek Fly Shop, Alpine Angling and Roaring Fork Anglers.
Kea was featured in the 2002 book, “Castwork — Reflections of Fly Fishing Guides and the American West.” He also occasionally wrote articles himself for the Fly Fishing Journal.
During the Christmas holiday season, he also ran a decorating business, called Holiday Haus, decorating many homes up and down the Roaring Fork Valley.
“Determined to explore art and music, he added more projects to this complex life and performed art restoration of ancient works and relaxed with his guitar, writing a few tunes and taking in the outstanding musicians visiting the valley from time to time,” according to a biography provided by the family.
In 2012, he and Lani Kitching, an RVR resident whom he had befriended after guiding her on a local fishing trip, started their own guide company, Proudline Guided Fly-Fishing.
Kitching also helped to found the R3 Fund.
“I will always remember his inclusivity of everyone,” Kitching said. “He was able to connect with so many different people, and as a guide he just wanted people to break out of their day-to-day routine and enjoy something different.”
Kitching is the widow of the late Dr. Gary Kitching, who died tragically in a random shooting at the Sandbar restaurant and bar in West Vail on Nov. 7, 2009. The killer, Richard “Rossi” Moreau, was convicted in March 2012 of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
“I had just gotten through the trial when it was highly suggested that I take some time to unwind,” said Kitching, who had testified at the trial and at the sentencing.
The Kitchings had enjoyed angling together, and it was Ian Hause who asked if Lani wanted to go on a fishing trip with Kea.
“It was a mutual attraction right away,” Kitching said. “We had a good time fishing that first night out, and I was just always relaxed around him.
“We always joked about the commonality between Kea and Gary,” she said. “They had a lot of the same expressions, read the same authors and ultimately shared the same wardrobe.”
Brother Ian said Kea always stayed true to himself and offered a personal approach to fly fish guiding amid an increasingly commercialized trade.
“He was always the last on his list of priorities, and always took care of other people first,” Ian said. “He wasn’t a chameleon. He stayed true to himself and to his town, and always had a real sense of duty for anything he was involved with.”
In addition to both his parents and stepmother, Laurie Hause, Kea is survived by his sister, Heather Froelicher, and her family of Carbondale, and brothers Ian of Carbondale and Eric of Eugene, Oregon.
For more information about the Kea Hause R3 Fund and how to contribute, visit http://avlt.org/kea/.
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