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Robert Saile '60 January 18, 2017 12:09 PM updated: January 23, 2017 12:46 PM

(Published in) The Denver (CO) Post (on) January 17, 2017

[Photo caption (Denver Post file): Bob Saile served as The Denver Post Outdoors editor from 1970-97]

Kiszla: RIP Bob Saile, a hunter with an eye for everything that makes Colorado beautiful
Despite being blind in one eye, Saile saw twice as much as anyone else

By MARK KISZLA | | The Denver Post
January 17, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Let’s start with the eye. For most of his 78 years, Bob Saile had only one eye that worked worth a darn. But Saile saw twice as much as most of us, whether looking for a way to gently caress the 8-ball into a corner pocket or scoping out a stretch of river filled with fish.

“Bob was the child all mothers worry about,” Carol Saile said, with the bluntly irreverent honesty her husband of 54 years would certainly appreciate.

Saile was a hunter. His job was to track down everything that makes living in Colorado better than living anywhere else. Maybe one eye sharpened his focus. If you’re lucky, there’s a 20-inch trout you hooked, thanks to the secrets Saile revealed during nearly three decades (1970-97) as the outdoors editor at The Denver Post.

I don’t think it was entirely by accident the newspaper sat a raw, scrawny, young sportswriter at a desk within shouting distance of Saile way back in 1983, because he scared me into believing a grammatical error in my copy was one of the seven deadly sins. So after all these years, I had never worked up the nerve to ask why Saile was blind in one eye until Tuesday, 24 hours after he passed away.

“Bob was the 10-year-old kid who got his eye put out with a slingshot. He got hit, and several days later, he was blind in one eye,” said Carol Saile, who fell in love with a writer deft handling either a pool stick or a tough story. “Bob was the boy who started mothers saying: ‘Put that thing down, you could put somebody’s eye out.’ ”

But man, oh man, did Saile see some stuff during his time roaming this earth, from dark taverns choked with cigar smoke to crystal clear Rocky Mountain vistas like John Denver used to sing about.

Despite wrestling most of his life with the chronic pain of spinal arthritis, Saile laughed on a bar stool next to astronaut Wally Schirra, talked civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr. and raised three kids. Colorado ranchers and government bureaucrats alike got nothing except straight talk from Saile. In his mind, feisty conservative and staunch environmentalist need not be mutually exclusive. Born at the tail end of the Great Depression to an engineer on the Hoover Dam, Saile grew into an activist who shouted down construction of the Two Forks Dam in order to keep the South Platte River running wild and free.

Whether raising his voice to call a turkey in the field or call attention to the dangers of whirling disease, it’s the passion that rang true. Saile was always thirsty for more. He liked to tell a story of stopping for a burger in rural Colorado, and asking the waitress where a fisherman could buy some alcohol.

“You want whiskey?” the waitress replied. “That’s the Road to Ruin.”

Saile flinched, expecting to get nailed by a teetotaler’s sermon.

“No,” the waitress sweetly explained. “It’s just two blocks down the street, on the left. The name of the liquor store is The Road to Ruin.”

Saile often wore a beat-up cowboy hat, the perfect cover for being sneaky funny and stealthy smart. He understood a mentor could be any old Texas A&M Aggie with a little knowledge and a heart big enough to share it. What did Saile teach me? Well, it was really no different from the encouragement he gladly offered to countless other Coloradans:

In this state, there’s no bad road to take. Around the next corner, there’s probably something beautiful, and even if the big fish gets away, it’s a great day, because we are blessed to live here.

Mark Kiszla
Mark Kiszla is a sports columnist for The Denver Post.
Published in Denver (CO) Post from Jan. 22 to Jan. 25, 2017

Robert Wendell Saile
Robert Wendell Saile, 78, of Centennial, CO passed away January, 16, 2017. Bob was born in Las Vegas, Nevada to Oliver and Anne Saile. Bob graduated from Texas A&M University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism. He was married to his wife of 54 years, Carol Elizabeth Heath. After an exciting and meaningful tenure at the Houston Post which included interviews with Martin Luther King, Jr., Walt Disney and Jimmy Stewart, Bob took a position with the Denver Post in 1967 where he soon became the Outdoor Sports Editor. He remained with the Denver Post until he retired in 1997. Additionally, he was a contributing editor for Field & Stream Magazine for many years. Bob was also an accomplished author of outdoor books, most notably "The Sultan of Spring" 1998 and "Trout Country" 1999. Bob was also an active environmentalist and took on issues like Whirling Disease in trout, and was a very powerful voice of opposition against Two Forks Dam on the S. Platte River in Colorado. He was instrumental in preserving over 20 miles of what is arguably one of the finest trout streams in America and the surrounding beauty which is found there. Bob loved Colorado and the west and was deeply honored to share that love and experiences with readers in his weekly columns in The Denver Post. Bob also loved music and enjoyed playing guitar, piano, and harmonica. Bob was preceded in death by his parents Oliver and Anne Saile. He is survived by his wife Carol, his three children Kevin (Theresa), Sharla Saile Voigt (George), and Slater, grandchildren Zachary Saile, Amanda Robinette, Dylan Saile, Layton Saile, great grandson Kaleb Saile, his siblings Anne Scott, Gail Qualls (Ron), Virginia Bollman (Ron), Edward Saile (Lynn), and his Aunt Lois Morehouse. He is survived also by numerous nieces and nephews. Services to be held at 3:00pm Sunday, January 29, 2017 at SummitView Church 6700 S. Colorado Blvd. Centennial, CO 80122. Reception to follow service.

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