It was with great sadness that we learned recently that Richard Steckel, a 2007 Purpose Prize fellow and co-founder of the Milestones Project, died of cancer at the age of 72.

Richard and his wife (and project co-founder) Shelli, horrified by genocidal violence and ethnic cleansing in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, used the art of photography to capture and share what it means to be human. The thousands of photographs they shot and turned into books and exhibits celebrate the life experiences we all have in common — losing the first tooth, making the first friend, going to school for the first time, getting the first haircut.

On a personal level, Richard and I shared a love for and infatuation with our grandchildren. (He is survived by Shelli, their children, seven grandchildren, one grandson-in-law and two great-grandchildren.) I remember fondly the gift that he and Shelli gave me of the Milestones’ books, when we had coffee in San Francisco. They are on my grandchildren’s bookshelves right now.

We will all miss him.

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to The Milestones Project, care of The Colorado Business Bank, 2409 W. Main St., Littleton CO 80120.

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