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1925 Robert 2021

Robert (Bob) Dean Corey

January 18, 1925 — December 12, 2021

Robert Dean (Bob) Corey

January 18, 1925 – December 12, 2021


Bob went to meet his Lord on December 12, 2021.

He was born January 18, 1925 in Olathe, Colorado to Bertha Olive (Christi) Corey and Paul Ray Corey. Shortly after, the doctor discovered he had a heart murmur and said he wouldn’t live three months.   His eleven siblings all preceded him in death.   Most of them had grown, married, and left home before he was born. Bob always said he was from the “second litter”. He spent his early years in the Olathe area, then he moved with his family to Boulder. He grew up there and graduated from Boulder High School in 1943, marrying Madeline Gabriella and moving back to Montrose in 1948. He built Silver Springs Trout Farm on the west flood-plain of the Uncompaghre River across Highway 550 from the old Riverside School. He served that school as janitor, football, and basketball coach (cleaning up the competition), as well as dusting off the roads driving its school bus.

In 1960 he relocated Silver Springs Trout Farm to the northern area of Mexican Gulch. He delivered trout by truck across all of Colorado, New Mexico, and into Arizona as far south as Lake Patagonia, near the southern border. In the early 1970s, he added 75 pair of registered shorthorn cattle to his fish operation and began serving to the food market “fish and chips”, as he was always sure to say,   making this his new business motto.

In 1965, Bob learned to fly. He bought a 1958 Cessna 182, N5029D. The airplane proved rather handy for delivering fingerling trout to remote areas. He attracted a lot of attention when landing on dirt roads to complete many air deliveries. But other deliveries went down somewhat differently. Most lakes didn’t have nearby roads smooth enough for landing a small plane. So he dropped those fingerlings in flight, informing his customers that the hardest part of the delivery was teaching the little fishies how to deploy their parachutes. He dropped one delivery over a lake in the West End’s Death Appointment Valley. The ranch caretaker said the drop would have been perfect but for hitting the wrong lake, the caretaker’s lake. He happily paid for that drop and ordered another for the right lake.

Bob regularly flew pan-ready trout to Aspen.   Those fish didn’t need parachutes and hit the plates right every time. He supplied most all the upscale restaurants of both Montrose and Ouray with the loveliest, pan-ready trout in the country. His were the only deep-lake grown trout in the U.S. His fish never wore their fins off jostling together nor became sun-darkened from growing up in that industry’s normal, over-crowded, sun- scorchingly shallow and narrow raceways.

Bob loved watching Bronco games, hunting, and flying 29er-Delta. He was so outgoing that he never knew a stranger. He loved working with the youth of all ages. After moving from the Riverside School area, he continued coaching grade-school football and pee-wee basketball. For 30 years he was a 4-H leader, and he served at least twenty-years on the Montrose High School football chain-gang. He seldom missed a game, even away games. He played basketball in the Montrose City league. His teammates and he took nicknames to play an out-of-town exhibition game. That night, Bob became “Fishbait Corey”. He sponsored the Silver Springs Trout Farm bowling team, outfitting it in gold lettered, forest green shirts with a beautiful rainbow trout embroidered on the back. The pinnacle of his bowling years was a 279 game, lacking only one, tenth-frame strike from being a perfect score of 300.

But Fishbait Corey was, himself, the completion of that 300 score. He was a two- term president of the U.S. Trout Farmers’ Association, a president of the Colorado Sportsman’s Association, and a Montrose County Commissioner from 1979-86 and 1992-94.He took his commissioner job very seriously. The people’s problems were his concern, not their votes, nor any government red-tape or over-regulation. During the massive snow-melt runoff of Spring, 1984, he saved Olathe from flooding by ordering the county road and bridge crew to rip-rap key bends in the Uncompaghre River in spite of Army- Corps of Engineer regulations against “foreign materials in the waterways”. “We’ll deal with them later,” he said of the Corps’ threats, “Today, we save Olathe.” This country could have used more politicians like him during the 2020 Summer of “love”. Shoot! We could use ’em right now, Lord, please, please. Bob was instrumental in the expansion of the Montrose County Airport and the construction of the new Justice Center during his final term as county commissioner.

He was a 32nd degree mason and a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and a member of the Montrose Elk’s Lodge, and of the Gideon’s International, and of the Olathe Rotary Club, the Montrose Chamber of Commerce, and the Montrose, San Miguel, Ouray County Farm Bureau. While a member of the Montrose County Sheriff’s Posse and the Civil Air Patrol,  he engaged in several search and rescue missions. But his chief search and rescue mission engaged his 40-year membership in the Montrose Christian Church, where he often taught adult bible classes, served communion to the homebound, and delivered numerous communion and offertory meditations all the way through his membership in Christ’s Church of the Valley to the Lord’s taking him home. He relished the great honor of having baptized his grandsons Kyle and Jordan Cribari.

He had three children by his first wife, Madeline, Kenneth Dean Corey (deceased 1974), Teresa Lynn Dilka, and Steven Ray Corey. Bob and Madeline divorced in 1966, though they never stopped caring about each other’s wellbeing. He married LaVelle Cribari in 1967, who brought her sons, Jimmie Dwain Cribari, and Richard Joseph Cribari into his family. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, LaVelle, and his children Teresa, Steven, Jimmie Dwain, and Richard, by nine grandchildren, Jason Hall of Idaho, Cole and Corey Dilka, Jordan, Kyle, and Ethan Cribari, Natasha Reed, Erin Armstrong, and Rachel Corey,  and by twelve great grandchildren.

Many times during his life Bob said, “It has been a long three months.” And he always quoted to his children his mother’s favorite expression, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Well, orderliness is basic to cleanliness. So the Lord God was sure to honor Bob’s orderliness by bringing him home on 12-12-21, twelve being the Biblical number of perfect order, doubled for emphasis, in the 21st year of the Lord’s second millennium (the number of God’s doing-it, 3, times 7, the number of perfect spirituality), in the 3rd hour of that morning.  Great job, Jesus, great job!

It’s going to be a long eternity now, Bob.

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