Lou Mestas was born in Monte Vista, Colo., on Aug. 13, 1955, to Frank and Emily (Cantu) Mestas, the third eldest child of seven children. Following a hard-fought, heroic battle from open-heart surgery, he passed away on Oct. 27. Lou never complained, kept his sense of humor and remained brave during the entire fight he chose. Lou’s family and many friends will greatly miss his gentle presence, demeanor and generosity.
Lou grew up in Pagosa Springs, running through the cottonwoods and playing in the river behind his childhood home on Hermosa Street.
A graduate of Pagosa Springs High School in 1973, he was an accomplished high school athlete in football and track. Lou had contemplated the religious life and, after graduation, attended seminary, but found his path was to lead him elsewhere. He then attended Adams State College.
After living in Denver for a few years, he returned home where he was most happy with his over 30 years as an instructor at Wolf Creek Ski Area, where he often had returning clients who requested him as their instructor. In 1995, he was named by Skiing Magazine in their inaugural “Skiing 100” as one of the top 100 ski instructors in the United States. The magazine described these instructors as having the power to change your life. That’s exactly what he did. In addition to being a fantastic ski instructor, he was also a tennis pro for Eaton International and during this tenure he was happy to have met tennis star Arthur Ashe.
In the summer months, his business, Secret Gardens Landscaping, kept him busy, once again, in the outdoors, but he always looked forward to the first snowfall and going back to work at the ski area.
He was a published poet, with one of his works being sold and later being recorded as a well-known song. He was a past member of the Pagosa Springs Jaycees, a civic organization.
Close to his family throughout his life, he took great pride in following the events of his nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Lou was a die-hard Broncos fan and loved attending home games. Lou is preceded in death by his father, Frank Mestas Sr., older brother, Adolph, and younger brother, Alfonso. He is survived by his mother, Emily Mestas; sister-in-law Carol Mestas; sister Kathy (Roy) Vega, brothers Frank (Christine) Mestas and Michael (Rosemarie) Mestas; and sister, Trish (Greg) Milioto; daughter Jessica and two grandchildren; and by many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, who love him dearly. A rosary will be held Nov. 12 at Pope John Paul II Catholic Church at 6 p.m. and a Mass of Christian burial will be on Nov. 13 at Pope John Paul II Catholic Church with eulogy at 10 a.m. and Mass at 10:30 a.m.
Lou was a coach, teacher, mentor and, most of all, a friend to all who met him and will be forever missed.
Go fly with the eagles, bro.