Barbara Gerety, who many of us knew as “B,” died at home this week.
Born Barbara Anne Chukoski in 1949, her parents immigrated from Ukraine to Canada before being allowed to come to the United States. Her early childhood was spent in Boulder, Colorado. She lived at the edge of what was then a small town and played in the neighboring fields. Her love of the outdoors was nurtured there and by the many summers that she spent in rural Canada at her grandparent’s farm. This was a time when there was no indoor plumbing and you had to draw water from a hand pump.
Her early adult life was spent in academics, first as a librarian and later as the head administrator for the University of Colorado’s Fiske Planetarium. Tired of working indoors, she took a traveling sales job representing many of the earliest outdoor manufacturing companies and was one of the few women in that field.
That work took her to Moab where she met the infamous “Bill-em” and “Rob-em” of Rim Cyclery. A strong friendship developed and Bill helped convince her to buy a house in Moab. The year was 1988, a year when that was still a possibility. After retiring from her sales job, she did a short stint working with her friends at Rim Cyclery before moving on to put her experience to work for other retail shops and tour companies.
She convinced friends from Arizona to come to Moab, change their lives and start an outdoor retail shop and guiding company named Canyon Voyages. Subsequently, she helped Western Spirit Cycling become successful as their office manager and do-it-all go-to person.
As an avid outdoorswoman, she loved hiking, swimming, boating and mountain biking back in the days when the Slickrock Bike Trail was known only to locals. One of her favorite stories involves seeing the Aurora Borealis while pioneering the Kokopelli Trail, a multi-day backcountry bicycling tour from Loma, Colorado to Moab. Her international travels took her to Canada, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Guatemala, New Zealand and Albania.
While in Moab, she loved to garden. Her tomatoes and her tomato soup recipe were highly coveted by all who knew her. It is because of her kindness, caring nature for both people and animals that she holds a place in the heart of so many.
She will be missed.
Instead of a memorial gathering during these difficult times, let’s just take a few moments to remember and celebrate her beautiful spirit.