Vail Daily’s Don Rogers: Charlie Tuft, friendly master of living well
Vail, CO, Colorado
Charlie Tuft left us laughing a few weeks ago. That’s the enduring memory I’ll keep.
He had just finished doing some giveaways at a concierge event promoting the Vail Valley Medical Center and his baby, Alpine Mobile Physicians.
The emergency room doc and founder of the house call service was really excited about growing 84 percent in the past year. I remember “84 percent” because he told me a couple of times, with a big, “can you believe it?” grin. We, my wife and I, couldn’t help from being excited, too. Charlie’s enthusiasm was infectious.
As always when bad news comes to the newsroom in pieces — “skier dies on Vail Mountain” … “skier was a 62-year-old Vail resident” … — I prayed that I didn’t know the poor person. Too often lately, I have. Sure enough, here was another punch in the gut.
We had made friends with Charlie and his love, Kristy, at the Vail Symposium’s Ruby Jubilee last winter, as we took the last two seats at a little table at their invitation. It was one of those chance encounters when you get talking and realize you just really like these people. I like to think we all felt a connection that could develop further. Then, of course, busy life intruded and we didn’t see them again until the concierge event, when Charlie was kind enough to call and invite us to drop in.
We all have so many connections like this that we don’t take enough advantage of. We live in a paradise, but don’t take the time to enjoy it. Or make that time, I guess the admonishment would go.
We’re committed to our routines, to keeping or growing our jobs, businesses and careers, keeping our circles tight. And paying prices for that.
I’m so glad now that Mary and I decided after long days at the office to come to the event, albeit a little late.
We saw it as a chance to reconnect with Charlie and Kristy, and shook off the workday wearies to stop by. And, well, this also is part of my job, generally among the more pleasant parts of it, even.
Especially with a guy like Charlie, one of those people who makes you think you made his day just by showing up. You couldn’t help but like the guy. He gave you no other option.
So yeah, he died doing what he loved. But this was a blow that much more bitter for seeing how he seemed to master this thing, life. Good job, obviously great relationship, well-regarded, sking Vail since 1962, succeeding with a new business, having fun.
That great grin said it all.
If anyone could be said to deserve living, it was him. He had it down.