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November 18, 2022
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Richard Allan Nunamaker passed away November 18, 2022 in Delta, Colorado in a tragic car accident. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Vicky Nunamaker, his daughter Rachel Dean-Ruzicka, and son-in-law Matt Ruzicka. Richard was born in Youngstown, Ohio to Betty and George Nunamaker in 1951.
He graduated from Liberty High School and subsequently attended Miami University of Ohio for his Bachelor’s degree and University of Northern Colorado for his Master’s. He was an educator at heart, earning a PhD in Entomology from the University of Wyoming. He specialized in social orders of insects, specifically honeybees. Richard raised bees throughout his life and sold “Nunny’s Honey” on the Front Range. While in Laramie he built his own log cabin, raised pheasants and pigs, and enjoyed living in a historic Victorian era home that he boldly painted purple. While doing research in Mexico he discovered the honeybee tracheal mite in 1980 and published research photos of the mite taken with the electron microscope.
Once in Delta and Cedaredge he continued to work as an educator in public schools, including the Vision Charter School and as a substitute teacher throughout Delta County Schools. He helped countless reach their dreams, whether they were college or trade orientated. He established Grand Mesa Vineyards, growing Rkasitelli, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Savarapi grapes. His Rkatziteli grapes, in collaboration with Williams Cellars, won a double gold at the San Francisco International Competition in 2019. Richard was a prolific gardener and loved canning tomatoes, making pickles, and freezing batches of homegrown green chili. He loved to travel from early in his career as a research scientist working in Australia and Switzerland. He also traveled extensively with his family and loved visiting Spain, Portugal and the Azores, Argentina, and New Zealand. In every country he would make friends because he was such an outgoing and enthusiastic person.
He dedicated his life to his passions and to those he loved, friends, family, students and colleagues. He made what seemed impossible, possible thru his determination and caring for others.
The family is holding a private service at this time, with a large memorial planned for Cedaredge early next summer. Donations may be made in his name to the Xerces Society at https://xerces.org/. Memories may be shared on the Crippin Funeral Home web site.