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Richard "Rick" Albin

December 15, 1941 ~ November 16, 2021 (age 79)

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Richard “Rick” Albin passed away on November 16, 2021 at the age of 79. He is survived by his wife, Donna, and his sister, Shelley. Rick grew up in Highland Park, IL. He was a very good student and athlete, swam butterfly stroke in high school and college and was an excellent golfer, a sport he continued to play all his life. As a boy he loved playing ice hockey and was an avid Colorado Avalanche fan.

He received his BA in philosophy from Cornell University where he met Donna, his wife of fifty-six years. Rick began college wanting to be a physician, until an elective class in philosophy intrigued him and he changed his major. However, his passion for medicine reemerged in his senior year and became his lifelong career. He graduated from medical school (with AOA honors), received a PhD in physiology in Chicago then finished his general surgery training in Boston. Under the Berry plan during the Viet Nam War period, he joined the United States Air Force and was stationed in northern Maine as the Chief of Surgery at Loring Air Force Base. After active service he went to the University of Virginia for his plastic surgery residency.

Upon completing his training he was appointed Chief of Plastic Surgery at the University of Colorado Medical School. It was there that he developed the first craniofacial program in the Rocky Mountain region devoted to correcting severe congenital deformities of the face and skull that helped so many, children especially, to live normal and happy lives. He subsequently went into private plastic surgery practice in Denver where he practiced for the rest of his professional career. In addition to his formal continuing education, Rick, along with nine other plastic surgeons practicing in different regions of the US and Canada met annually to discuss new techniques, candidly evaluating successes and failures in surgical practice. In keeping with his great respect for those who serve - especially in the military - one of his most rewarding volunteer activities was his participation in the IraqStar program which provided free reconstructive surgery for injured Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.  

While in the military, then in Charlottesville and again at the Denver Zoo in Colorado, Rick’s love of animals led him to help veterinarians perform complicated surgeries on injured or sick animals. He and Donna adopted shelter cats throughout their married life, often having 4-6 cats as their “family” while supporting a number of charities that rescue and save unwanted cats, dogs, horses and other animals.

Rick was a gifted, technical and innovative surgical artist who was respected and loved not only by his colleagues but supporting professionals, from schedulers to nurses to OR techs, clerks and office staff. A mentor to so many younger physicians and nurses, he always had time to share his knowledge with them.

Rick was a man of few words but great wisdom. He was soft-spoken and his kindness and sweetness belied his strength and determination. He was a thoughtful listener who engaged people from all walks of life and learned from their stories and perspectives. Rick amused his colleagues and friends with insightful stories about his life experiences or “truisms” that came to be called “Albinisms”.

His intellectual curiosity about diverse topics consumed much of his free time and once retired he spent hours reading books and online articles, from astronomy to geology, wine and botany. In retirement Rick loved growing vegetables, especially the delicious heirloom tomatoes he grew from seed. He also loved finding and transplanting tree seedlings he found in the yard. Every year he’d take a caliper and measuring tape to record every tree’s growth for the year. It gave him great pleasure to watch their progress, watering them often through the dry winters to be sure they’d survive and thrive.

Rick and Donna were devoted to one another - sharing interests, mutual respect, laughter and a deep love. They had a wonderful life together. Rick lived a full and consequential life. His presence will be missed but his impact on so many friends, associates and former patients will endure.

Private burial will be held at Fort Logan National Cemetery

A Celebration of Life will be held after the holidays – date, time and place not yet determined. Check back at this site for posted information.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Rick’s memory can be made to the animal welfare organization of your choice.


Private Interment

Fort Logan National Cemetery
3698 S. Sheridan Blvd.
Denver, Colorado 80236

Video is available for this event

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