Kea Hause pretty much lived on the river, from the time he was a child hanging out with friends and siblings along the banks of the Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers outside Carbondale to his many years guiding fishing trips locally and abroad.
So it’s fitting that Hause would be remembered following his unexpected death in March with an effort to protect and restore the area rivers to which he always had such a deep connection.
A LIFE REMEMBERED
Kea Hause was 54 when he died unexpectedly in his sleep at home on March 22. He was born in Hawaii, and was named for the famous Mauna Kea volcano there.
But his parents, Ken and Adele Hause, moved back to Carbondale to teach at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, where he and his siblings ultimately attended school. Traveling and adventure filled their summers, which contributed to Kea’s love of being in the outdoors.
Kea was also known for his artistic T-shirt designs and drew the “Boneheads” cartoon for the Valley Journal newspaper in Carbondale while going to Colorado Mountain College.
An avid angler since childhood, he spent many years as a fly-fishing guide for Taylor Creek Fly Shop, Alpine Angling and Roaring Fork Anglers.
Kea was featured in the 2002 book, “Castwork — Reflections of Fly Fishing Guides and the American West.” He also occasionally wrote articles himself for the Fly Fishing Journal.
During the Christmas holiday season, he also ran a decorating business, called Holiday Haus, decorating many homes up and down the Roaring Fork Valley.
“Determined to explore art and music, he added more projects to this complex life and performed art restoration of ancient works and relaxed with his guitar, writing a few tunes and taking in the outstanding musicians visiting the valley from time to time,” according to a biography provided by the family.
In 2012, he and Lani Kitching, an RVR resident whom he had befriended after guiding her on a local fishing trip, started their own guide company, Proudline Guided Fly-Fishing.
“I will always remember his inclusivity of everyone,” Kitching said. “He was able to connect with so many different people, and as a guide he just wanted people to break out of their day-to-day routine and enjoy something different.”
Kitching is the widow of the late Dr. Gary Kitching, who died tragically in a random shooting at the Sandbar restaurant and bar in West Vail on Nov. 7, 2009. The killer, Richard “Rossi” Moreau, was convicted in March 2012 of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
“I had just gotten through the trial when it was highly suggested that I take some time to unwind,” said Kitching, who had testified at the trial and at the sentencing.
“We always joked about the commonality between Kea and Gary,” she said. “They had a lot of the same expressions, read the same authors and ultimately shared the same wardrobe.”
“He was always the last on his list of priorities, and always took care of other people first,” Kea’s brother said. “He wasn’t a chameleon. He stayed true to himself and to his town, and always had a real sense of duty for anything he was involved with.”
Adapted from Post Independent | John Stroud