Chris Candee passed away of acute sepsis and respiratory failure at the Montrose Medical Center, CO, in the early morning of Sunday, February 4. He was 76 years of age. After a three-month struggle with declining health, he died peacefully with family in attendance.
Chris was born in San Francisco, CA, on October 25, 1947, to Robert and Ann Candee. He was an only child and grew up in the Bay Area. He developed a love for the outdoors when his father would take him on camping trips in the Sierra Nevada and into the coastal forests. The mountain excursions apparently sparked an early interest in geology in that family lore says that he was always picking up rocks and taking them home.
By the time of his 1965 high school graduation from a local military academy Chris had decided that he was going to be a geologist. He enrolled in the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1969, and a master’s degree in 1971. Chris’s master thesis was on the Grizzly Peak cauldron
Oct. 25, 1947-Feb. 4, 2024
on the crest of the Sawatch Range in west central Colorado, an early study of this volcanic feature.
After his 1971 college graduation Chris signed into a six-year Army medical reserve unit which entailed an initial six-month stint of full time basic and medical training, then five years of periodic “meetings” requiring periodic short duty visits to and alternating between Fitzsimons Army Medical Center (now Anschutz Medical Campus) in Denver and Fort Bragg (now Fort Liberty) in North Carolina.
In 1972, with his full-time six-month Army training completed, Chris began his professional geologic career working for Baumgartner Oil, Denver. He worked summers out of Ouray making a systematic study of the high sulfidation alteration system and associated silver mineralization of the Red Mountains between Ouray and Silverton, CO. By the late 1970s he was a staff geologist for AMAX Molybdenum, then AMAX Gold, then Cyprus Amax where he finished his career. He worked both as a field exploration geologist and a project manager in numerous places in the Mountain West, in west interior and southeast Alaska, and in Chile, Argentina and Turkey.
Although based mostly out of Denver, Chris always considered Ouray his home. He met Nancy Cook, originally of Cedaredge, in Ouray and in early 1983 they married In Silverton, CO. After a few years of residing temporarily in the far-flung places of Golden, CO, Reno, NV, Antofagasta, Chile, and Ankara, Turkey, they settled permanently in Chris’s self-built timber frame home a few miles down valley from Ouray. In retirement Chris continued his lifelong outdoor activities of hiking, camping and back country skiing; and he refined his hobbies of woodworking and black smithing. For several summers he worked part time as a jeep tour driver and would enthrall (and sometimes terrify) his guests as he gestured wildly while driving the narrow and scenic backroads above Ouray and Silverton.
Chris was preceded in death by his parents and by his wife Nancy. He had no children but is survived by four cousins on his father’s side and by a nephew on Nancy’s side.
Chris was a friend to many in the Ouray community and was well known in the Colorado geological fraternity. He will be missed by all, his local friends, his geologic colleagues, and his extended family. There will be a private celebration of life ceremony and scattering of Chris’s ashes at a later date.