Beaver Creek has first skier death of season |

Beaver Creek has first skier death of season

BEAVER CREEK — A St. Louis man became Colorado’s fifth skier death this winter, and Beaver Creek’s first.

Gary R. Parker, 64, was skiing an intermediate run in Beaver Creek’s Larkspur Bowl when ski patrol was called to the scene because Parker was “unresponsive,” says a statement from Vail Resorts.

Injuries Unclear

“Gary was a highly respected and successful businessman who was very close to his family. It’s a real shame, and he will be missed by many.”
Tom Brouster
Reliance Bank chairman

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Parker was taken to a waiting ambulance and rushed to the Vail Valley Medical Center, then transported to Denver’s Swedish Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. It was unclear whether his death was related to skiing injuries or another condition.

Parker was a St. Louis-area oil tycoon whose career spanned 35 years.

Secrecy in life and after

The incident was Friday. According to his obituary, Parker was “fortified with the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church,” the last rites, on Saturday. Vail Resorts issued a statement on Monday, and declined to discuss Parker’s injuries. Since patient privacy laws took effect a few years ago, all calls are referred to medical professionals, said Jen Brown, communications manager for Beaver Creek Resort.

The medical professionals attending at the time of Parker’s death could not be reached as of Tuesday evening to comment on the cause of death.

Parker is survived by his wife, Karman, and their six children.

At the time of his death, Parker was CEO of G.P. & W. Inc., which does business as Center Oil and Center Ethanol companies in St. Louis and is one of that city’s five largest privately held companies.

Parker was fiercely secretive about himself and his businesses. Even his Forbes magazine profile does not have an accompanying photo.

The company announced Parker’s death late Monday in a four-sentence statement, saying that “Gary’s passion and vibrance will be greatly missed.”

Parker avoided publicity as much as he could, and photos of him are not available.

Ralph Casazzone, oil trader with G.E. Warren Corp., has been named president of Center Oil, the company said.

Parker also was one of the founders of Reliance Bank and served on the board of its holding company, the St. Louis Business Journal reports.

“Gary was a highly respected and successful businessman who was very close to his family,” said Tom Brouster, Reliance chairman. “It’s a real shame, and he will be missed by many.”

Fifth Colorado ski resort death

Parker’s death was around the same time as a skier death at Keystone resort. A 46-year old man, so far unidentified, crashed into a tree and died as he was skiing between a pair of intermediate runs, Porcupine and Bighorn, according to the Summit County coroner’s office. The Keystone death was the fourth this season at a Colorado ski resort.

Average Death

The average skier and snowboarder death inside a Colorado resort is an experienced male skier in his mid 30s, wearing a helmet, who loses control on an intermediate, groomed run and hits a tree, according to data analysis by The Denver Post.

At the time of Parker’s death, Parker was CEO of G.P. & W. Inc., which does business as Center Oil Company. The company’s website says it distributes refined petroleum products and has annual sales in excess of $4.8 billion.

Parker also owned controlling interests in numerous petroleum storage terminal companies. He also had significant investments in and sat on the Board of Directors of Reliance Bancshares Inc. and publicly traded World Point Terminals.

Parker’s funeral mass is scheduled for Thursday at St. Clement of Rome Catholic Church, 1510 Bopp Rd, St. Louis, Mo. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Camp Rhythm, One Children’s Place, St. Louis, Mo. 63110-1077.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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