George Detko |

George Detko

Dr. George J. Detko Jr., a former Aspenite and ski instructor, died Oct. 25 in Palm City, Fla. In Aspen, he was known as an active bicyclist and runner, as a RFTA bus driver and as an advocate for the bears.

Dr. George J. Detko Jr. died Oct. 25 in Palm City, Fla. He was 57. He was born Dec. 10, 1947, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He graduated from the University of Montevallo and the University of Alabama Hospitals and Clinics in Birmingham. He was a staff anesthesiologist at Indian River Memorial Hospital in Florida from 1975 to 1993.He founded MD Anesthesia in August 1983 to provide hospital anesthesia by a group of board-certified anesthesiologists. He developed the recovery room patient evaluation score, developed the recovery room protocol and assisted in the development of IV team training.

George also developed the epidural narcotic protocol, assisted in the implementation of the hospitals’ outpatient center and was involved in the startup, and was a provider of anesthesia care at two freestanding ambulatory surgical centers in Vero Beach.He was a diplomat with the National Board of Medical Examiners and a diplomat with the American Board of Anesthesiology. He was licensed to practice medicine in Alabama, California and Florida. He moved to Aspen in mid-1993. Although he never wore a pair of skis until his mid-40s, he learned quickly. He became a ski instructor at Buttermilk beginning in November 1996. He was a skilled and highly motivated athlete who competed in the Aspen Cycling Club and was a member of the Aspen Running Club. He received many awards for his high-place finishes in local races.

He was a fierce and knowledgeable environmentalist and he always shared his observations and knowledge of the outdoors with his companions. He was always amazed that some could not see what he saw – signs of wildlife and the elk, deer and bears. He was a “closet eco-terrorist” and he would venture out of the closet once in a while and share his very strong opinions. Several years ago, George appeared regularly before the Aspen City Council, urging the city to stiffen its regulations on garbage containers and to crack down on businesses and individuals whose trash was attracting bears. He feared – correctly – for the lives of problem bears. George never let anything go without a comment. Regardless of whether you agreed with him, he always made you think.

George served on the board of directors of the Roaring Fork Transit Agency and also was a bus driver for RFTA. In early 2004, he returned to the practice of medicine in Florida. He is survived by his parents, George and Mary Detko, a brother, Tom Detko, his sisters, Cathy Gibbs and Suzanna Dee, a daughter, Kadie Lyle Fry, one granddaughter, many friends and his beloved golden retriever, Annie.A memorial service and celebration of his life will be announced in the coming months.

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