RARELY did Ray Skeff mince words. He told you what he thought, and he backed up his words with unwavering support for young people and organizations who needed a lift.
He was a generous soul, giving to many causes throughout Rio Grande County and the San Luis Valley. Rio Grande Hospital, the Upper Rio Grande Animal Society, Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley, Adams State, Monte Vista Kids Connection, and students at Monte Vista High and Center High all benefited from his support, to name a few.
A larger-than-life figure, Skeff passed away on April 7, just days after being celebrated by SLV GO, Great Outdoors Colorado and the city of Monte Vista for establishing the Ray and Colette Skeff Nature Trail. A few weeks before that he was at the celebration of the new Ski Hi Regional Events Complex, another project he and his wife, Colette, supported.
“They have vested themselves with thousands of community hours, donated countless dollars and have been a pillar to lean on when our community needed a hand up,” Monte Vista City Manager Gigi Dennis said at the Skeff Nature Trail celebration.
“Ray and Colette have consistently supported worthy community projects for as long as I can remember,” said Kathy Woods, a Monte Vista native and friend of the Skeffs. She and Karla Shriver worked with the couple to support the new Ski Hi complex. “They graciously welcomed Karla and I into their home for a long discussion. We knew we could count on them and we were right. We’ll remember Ray fondly as we utilize the beautiful building that came to reality with the help of Ray and Colette’s generosity and love of community.”
He owned a garage full of collector cars and proudly showed them off to friends and strangers alike. One by one, he sold them off so that we could donate the money to organizations he believed in. He was that kind of person.
He and Colette loved to open the doors to their beautiful home in Monte Vista for others to see and enjoy. As he aged and he found himself in need of help, Colette stood strong and remained constantly by his side. Theirs was a marriage of faith and devotion.
“I’m 83, and they tell me I got 83 left,” he joked at the Skeff Nature Trail dedication. He knew his days were numbered.
The man who grew up in Center, became a business owner in Monte Vista, and found so many worthy causes to spread his wealth to, has passed on. His memory will remain in the projects that bear his name and all the good he did for others.