Richard Stieg, 83, of Englewood, Colorado, passed on September 19, 2020. He is survived by his beloved wife of 39 years, Lucille "Lucky" Gallagher his five children, and 11 grandchildren. His 12th grandchild Parker Scott preceded him in death.
Richard was born on June 18, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York to parents Evelyn Bolvig Stieg and Frederic Stieg. He had 6 siblings, 3 brothers and 3 sisters. He is survived by Lynne, Andrea, Fred, David and Cathy. His parents and his brother Larry preceded him in death.
Richard graduated from Wellington C. Mepham High school in 1955 and was active in the band as a clarinet player and played in the Macy's Day Parade. He was also on the bowling team but as a star athlete on the high school baseball team, Richard had a once in a lifetime tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Needless to say, his path was medicine, not professional baseball.
He then attended the C.W. Post College, Brookville, New York. and earned his Major: Biology, Chemistry. B.S., Cum Laude, 1959, and then went on to the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York earning the Major: Medicine, M.D., 1963. His fraternity brothers tagged him with the moniker of "Mongoose" because he was a deadly pool player. He was fondly given stuffed mongoose's and used the nickname throughout his life.
Following the completion of neurological training in 1967 at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., Dr. Stieg served as Chief of Staff of the Neurology Department and as a flight surgeon in the US Air Force Medical Corp at Wilford Hall Hospital in SanAntonio Texas until 1971. Duties included clinical practice and medical education of interns and residents as well as attending to the needs of flight personnel.
He married his first wife Trudy Melsom in August of 1960 and together they had three children, Wendy Scott ( Paul Lampe), Erik Stieg ( Erika Stieg, spouse), and Jennifer Stankus (Seth Stankus, spouse) He became a grandfather to Taylor and Parker Scott, Emaline and Everett Stieg along with Jennifer's step children, Joshua, Rebekah, Rachael, Melanie
From 1971 to 1977 Dr. Stieg was in private clinical practice of general neurology in Boulder and for 3 years concurrently served as Assistant Chief of the Neurology Department at Denver General Hospital (now Denver Health), in an academic position.
In late 1977 Dr. Stieg founded the Boulder Memorial Hospital Pain Clinic, the first multidisciplinary outpatient and inpatient pain treatment program in the state of Colorado. Duties included patient care, medical education of nurses and other allied healthcare givers, program development, clinical research, and medical supervision of the pain treatment teams. After leaving the Boulder Memorial Hospital 5 years later Dr. Stieg founded the Colorado Rehabilitation Institute in Boulder, an outpatient multidisciplinary pain treatment center. Duties continued to be care of patients, program development, and training of allied health personnel, clinical research, and medical supervision of the treatment teams.
It was in 1981 that he married his forever love Lucille "Lucky" Gallagher. When they married, Richard gained two additional daughters, Tara L. King and Tracey Gallagher along with 4 additional grandchildren, Dylan C. Watts (Brandi Watts, spouse), Kirah P. King, and Baccara and Logan Baca. He embraced them as his own and became the father the girls never had. He has been an example of the pillar of strength as a loving step-father, husband, and caregiver for Lucky. He should be an example to all men young and old about how women should be treated and respected as equals. Over the years, he would always say that he was surrounded by strong women who always made his life easier and that they were responsible for allowing him to thrive with their support in his personal and business life. If you stayed with us to read this far, you might believe he was a serious type of individual, but there was nothing more compelling to him than cracking some obtuse or amusing joke at the drop of a hat. He also continued his love for music by playing the piano and entertaining and singing with Lucky and whoever else wanted to join in.
He was remembered in a post by his niece Johanna Stieg this way.........My Uncle Richard was an incredible, inspiring man who loved greatly. He shared his wisdom and spirit generously. He worked admirably and demonstrated a devotion to those he loved that would fill a room and touch everyone in it. He had a literal twinkle in his eye and always a corny joke to share. Being around someone who exudes so much love, and makes you feel so special and respected and “in on the joke” is a rare thing to come by, and he seemed to do it so naturally. A born caregiver who spread his infectious kindness. He was a truly unique spirit I have had the fortune of calling family and I will miss him greatly.
I will end this remembrance with the shorter one of my top two favorite Uncle Richard jokes:
“Two sausages are frying in a pan...the one sausage looks over at the other and says, “hooo boy, it’s getting hot in here”.
And the other sausage says, “OH MY GOD! A talking sausage!!”
I’ll always remember exactly how he tells this one. The other one is the penguins, the policeman and the farmer. Anyone hear that one? (I personally loved the penguin joke! Tara)
Over the subsequent years, Dr. Stieg founded, directed, saw private patients, and taught in a variety of other clinical settings and geographical locations in Boulder, Greeley, Broomfield, Aurora and Denver, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and most recently Frisco, Colorado, serving patients with brain injuries, chronic pain, and related addiction disorders. This also included service as the Medical Director of the Brain Injury Program at Spalding Hospital in Denver for several years. He also served from 1990-1995 as Medical Director and a member of the Board of Directors of the Greeley Center for Independent Living, a non-profit organization providing assisted living and related health services to patients with brain injuries and diseases. Professional duties and clinical private practice continued the same throughout these settings, which have been privately owned, hospital-based, or within academic institutions (University of Pittsburgh 1987 to 1989). He was the Medical Director of the Centennial Rehabilitation Associates, a private institution in Aurora that offered several outpatient programs for patients with traumatic brain injuries, chronic pain, and concurrent psychiatric disorders, including addiction to prescription and illicit drugs. Dr. Stieg continued academic teaching on a volunteer basis until 2007 when he retired from the Neurology Department at The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. While at The University of Pittsburgh from 1987-1989 as an Associate professor of Anesthesiology and Neurology, Dr. Stieg maintained residences in Pittsburgh and Berthoud, Colorado, and continued to consult with those Colorado clinics which he had established.
In 1994 Dr. Stieg was recruited by The Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority as Medical Director of that quasi-governmental insurance company, providing workers' compensation benefits to Colorado employees. The company changed its name to Pinnacol Assurance during his 8-year tenure. During that time Dr. Stieg's duties included the development of a statewide PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) -like organization consisting of primary care and specialty physicians specially trained to offer workers' compensation care in Colorado. He also greatly expanded the in-house nursing and large part-time Physician Advisory Panel at Pinnacol Assurance. He has served the Division of Workers' Compensation in the state of Colorado as a task force member of four different committees that developed medical treatment guidelines for Traumatic Brain Injury, Chronic Pain and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome for the workers' compensation system. Throughout his 8 years at Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority and Pinnacol Assurance, Dr. Stieg maintained a clinical practice, seeing pain patients in various clinical settings. Dr. Stieg retired from his private practice in Frisco, Colorado in December of 2018 but continued to contribute to his community by providing expert witness testimony in legal cases up until his recent death. He was a man truly dedicated to his profession even recently writing a letter to Governor Polis on the negative effects on the senior community as a result of the isolation during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Stieg was a strong advocate of volunteerism and has spent much of his career serving a variety of not-for-profit organizations as a writer, editor, website developer, teacher, researcher and member of numerous committees and boards of directors. In 1994 he served as the 10th president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
HONORS AND AWARDS
1997 Phillip M. Lippe Award, American Academy of Pain Medicine
2009 Pioneer in Pain Medicine, Western Pain Society
2020 Presidential Commendation, American Academy of Pain Medicine for recognition of recognizing exemplary service to the Academy, the practice of Pain Medicine, or the community.
As you can clearly see, he had an illustrious career as a medical doctor and was highly skilled and dedicated to his profession. But at the end of his life, his personal wishes as so generously expressed were that his family members fight to maintain a charity of love and respect along with forgiveness for each other and that we teach those great qualities to the next generation which will follow us.
That sound minds with charitable dispositions prevail and save our floundering society from destroying itself teaching our children to be some of them. We might otherwise be lost ....and soon.
And lastly, that he would be remembered with loving-kindness as one who spent a whole life working to improve himself and the lot of many others in and outside of the beloved practice of medicine. And .................he wants us all to know that "Along the way, IT WAS A BLAST!!!"
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