Sidney H. Dickinson passed away peacefully at his home in Gunnison on Thursday, April 12. He was born April 8, 1929 in Salida. Sid is preceded in death by his parents Richard Frank and Orphie Dickinson, his brothers Henry and Richard, and his son Michael. He is survived by his wife of 64 years Audrey; his daughter Debbie (Stephen) Williams; daughter-in-law Frances Dickinson; his seven grandchildren, Robert (Allison) Williams, Stephen Williams, Kristin (Josh) Hatch, Presten (Natasha) Dickinson, Madeline (Newt) Klusmire, Trenten and Bryten Dickinson; and his nine great-grandchildren. His ninth great-grandchild was born the same day he passed. To his 20 grandchildren and to many others, he was affectionately known as “Punka.”
Sid attended Western State College graduating in 1951. He was a four year member of the football team. While attending Western, he met Audrey Dee Elsass. He remembered her wearing a green overcoat and later remarked how pretty Gunnison girls were, especially Audrey. Sid and Audrey were married in 1953 in Gunnison soon after he joined the U.S. Air Force. While in the Air Force, the couple were stationed in Nevada, Japan, California, Germany, and then returned to Gunnison upon his retirement. Debbie was born in 1954 in Herlong, Calif., and Michael was born in 1958 in Tachikawa, Japan. Sid was a pilot in the Vietnam War from Dec. 1964 to Nov. 1965, returning home with many commendations and decorations. He retired from the Air Force in 1972.
After retirement, Sid earned his Masters degree in Special Education from Western State and was a teacher and a bus driver for the Gunnison School District. There was a soft spot in his heart for every student. In the community, Sid was the official photographer for the Cattlemen’s Days horse races, an active Western State Athletic Alumnus, a member of the Rotary Club, the Gunnison High School Booster Club and the Pitkin Historical Society. Sid helped every person he came in contact with and welcomed all as if they were family. His storytelling and boisterous laugh would fill a room with love and warmth and was a great source of joy for those around. Sid knew that in life, wealth was measured by time spent with loved ones. Every moment he could he retreated with family to their cabin in Pitkin to sit around the fire, at the kitchen table and on the deck overlooking the river, “wondering what all the poor people were doing.”
The family invites the community to a graveside service with military honors held on Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m. Sid was part of the 1950 Western football team who survived a bus ride over Monarch Pass when the brakes failed. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes that donations be made in his memory to the “Bus Riders Football Scholarship” in care of the Western State Foundation, with a notation to the Dickinson Memorial, 900 E. Escalante Dr., Gunnison, Colorado, 81231., or online through western.edu/give, with notation to Dickinson Memorial.