Friends remember Robbie Wade’s giving nature, his love of sailing
August 6, 2002
Robbie Wade was known among peers and elders alike for his thirst for adventure and his giving nature.
Classmates say that Wade, usually hindered by a cast or sling, was a common sight around Aspen High School – he once snapped photos of his own car wreck to enlarge and show to friends.
Wade, 19, a recent AHS graduate, died Sunday after being injured in a skateboarding accident late Saturday night.
He is survived by his mother, Ginny Meyers; sister Maile Wade; and his father, Bob Wade. He is also remembered by a host of local students whose lives he touched.
AHS sophomore Margaret Paas met Wade in middle school, where he befriended her older brother. Over time, Wade began referring to Paas as his little sister.
“He was always the happiest person I ever knew,” she said.
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Wade was an avid outdoorsman, taking up hunting and archery at different points, Paas said. However, he felt most comfortable on the water.
“Sailing was one of his biggest passions,” Paas said.
Wade frequently spent time at his family’s house in Kauai, Hawaii, Paas said, and took four months of his senior year finishing the Semester at Sea program, Paas said. Not long after graduation, Wade returned to the Caribbean to teach wind surfing.
While some friends say Wade hoped to try college some day, Paas said he recently planned to move to Denver with friends and receive special firefighting training.
“He had plans to start training to be a smoke jumper next spring,” she said.
Jennifer Leigh, mother of Aspen High students John and Natalie Poletti, penned a letter to The Aspen Times early Monday in Wade’s honor. Leigh credited Wade’s friendship for helping her kids through a rough move from one school to another.
“Robbie Wade was one of those awesome people who made my kids’ transition from California to Colorado less traumatic,” Leigh wrote. (The letter appears on page 9.)
Natalie Poletti, a sophomore, met Wade early last year through mutual friends. Befriending a senior not long after moving to Aspen helped her make it through her freshman year, Poletti said.
“He was one of the coolest kids I’ve ever met,” she said. “He was the nicest senior to me – he was pretty open.”
Poletti said she got to know Wade best during the last few months of the school year as his senioritis set in. She last saw Wade during the AHS graduation ceremony last May, where she congratulated him and listened to his plans for the future.
“I walked up to him and gave him a really big hug,” Poletti said. “He was talking about doing a lot of trips [this summer], going with friends to Moab and just doing the Robbie thing – four-wheeling and all the other crazy boy stuff he did.”
“The Robbie Thing” included anything from long camping trips to off-roading in his SUV, Poletti said. Frequent weekend trips to Dinkle Lake would lead Wade to proudly display his mud-covered car the next week at school.
Wade even received a traffic ticket due to the state of his dingy vehicle, Poletti reported.
“He liked to get his car as dirty as he could – that was his fetish. His car used to be covered in mud,” she said.
Wade was a risk taker and adventurer, Poletti and Paas agreed, and put as much of himself into his personal relationships as he did his weekend jaunts.
“He was the really passionate type of person when he cared about somebody,” Paas said. “He was just pretty much the best there was.”
[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]