Chris Olivarez


Chris Olivarez passed away on Jan. 20 at Pagosa Springs Medical Center, after a long illness, at age 69.

Well known for over 20 years in Pagosa as the radio voice of Pirate Sports, his radio show “jazz, blues etcetera,” “TRADIO,” news, everything, whatever, whenever, on KPAG and later, KWUF radio, Chris was an integral member of our community.

Named the recipient of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce “citizen of the year” award for his (over) 20 years of covering Pirate Sports from every corner of Colorado, no matter how remote or what the weather, Chris was a walking, talking encyclopedia of boys and girls teams from years past — he loved the teams, the kids (many parents now) and the tradition. Who caught the touchdown pass vs. Cortez, who hit the winning basket in the game against Bayfield, who had the wickedest serve on 2010’s volleyball team — Chris absolutely knew.

He was a lifelong aficionado of jazz and blues music. And this writer confidently alleges that no one anywhere ever knew more about the history and the importance of the music forms that were the growing ground of modern rock and pop.

When a traveler driving through Pagosa on Highway 160 was scanning the FM band on his car radio, he or she may have been surprised to hear B.B. King or John Coltrane firing off on 106.3 or 106.1.

Chris was born in 1951 in Phoenix, Ariz., earned a degree in broadcasting technology at Phoenix College and never had a job in his life that wasn’t in radio. KDKB, KJZZ, KVRD, KRQS, KMSR, KRJC, KROP, and, of course, KPAG and KWUF in Pagosa, made an alphabet soup of a resume, but he found a home and community in Pagosa in 1994. He loved Pagosa and was loved by Pagosa. 

In his honor and memory, love those around you, love where you are, and do what you can to help young people grow and become strong.

Contributions to the Pagosa Springs Humane Society or the Pirate Boosters in Chris’ memory will of course be appreciated. Chris was an organ and tissue donor, and two people will receive his corneas and may well regain sight. Please consider becoming a donor yourself. 

No services are planned at this time, per his request, but things change and we’ll let you know.