Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Earl G. ‘Rick’ Rickers

Former longtime Ketchum local Earl G. "Rick" Rickers passed away in Cabo Pulmo, Baja California Sur, Mexico, on his 83rd birthday soon after cancer of the esophagus was discovered. Rick was born in Plains, Kan., on Nov. 6, 1927, and was raised on his family's wheat farm. Rick married Elizabeth Ridgley Miller on April 6, 1961.

He is survived by his wife, Ridge; son, Alan Rickers (Goodie) of Hailey, Idaho; daughter, Marly Rickers of Cabo Pulmo, Mexico; granddaughter, Alexis Rickers of Meridian, Idaho; and step-son Vivian McPeak of Seattle, Wash.

While attending college in Salt Lake City, Utah, Rick worked summers for the CCC (FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps) doing forestry work in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California, and later graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Geology. The family lived in the mountains of Northern California, then in Laguna Beach and Dana Point in Southern California, before moving to Ketchum, Idaho, in 1972.

Rick loved adventure—he prospected for gold in Mexico and for diamonds in uncharted jungles of Venezuela; he spent winters in Aspen, Colo., working as a hotel night clerk so his days were free for skiing. It was in Aspen that Rick first became friends with Dick Barrymore, then an aspiring ski filmmaker and Rick's future employer. While in Aspen, Rick joined a remarkable project. He and three Aspen friends paddled two two-man canoes from Denver, Colo., to Old Town, Maine, retracing eastward the waterways that were used by early explorers to explore and open up the American continent. The canoe trip took more than six months to complete and was featured in a 10-page Life Magazine spread (June 23, 1958).

In 1966, Rick joined Dick Barrymore Productions and for the next 10 years he traveled the world with Dick Barrymore and film crew, producing documentaries of international ski competitions and popular promotional films for the ski industry, showcasing the world's top ski talent. In 1976, Rick formed Rickers Film Productions, which he operated for 16 years while living in Ketchum and later in Boise, Idaho. His company produced adventure travel films and industrial and commercial projects, and compiled a stock photo file of scenic travel and outdoor recreation locations. Rick was also a film consultant for Morrison-Knudsen Co. of Boise, and traveled extensively to produce MK's documentaries of international construction projects.

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