Richard Gehling




Richard is the oldest son of Lawrence and Genevieve Gehling. He was born at St. Anthony's Hospital, Carroll, Iowa, one hot and sultry night in mid-August of 1939. He spent his childhood years in western Iowa, moving with his family from farm to farm and from small town to small town. After graduating from eighth grade, Richard left home to attend a series of religious schools - high school in Donaldson, Indiana; college in Honesdale, Pennsylvania; graduate school in Rome, Italy. He returned to Iowa in late 1965, but stayed only a few months before packing his bags for Colorado.

Richard settled in Colorado Springs at the foot of Pikes Peak. He soon found emplayment in a local factory, making Craftsman tools for Sears & Roebuck. In the fall of 1966 he met and fell in love with a young hairdresser named Mary Ann Montoya. The two were married on the first day of April 1967. Their son Robert was born the following year, their daughter Staci Ann two years later.

In the late 1970's Richard decided to fulfill his life-long dream of visiting Alaska. He purchased a new club-cab Ford pickup, built an eight-foot camper, and arranged for time off from work. The Alaskan family trip took 30 days - north by way of Wyoming and Montana, up the Alcan Highway through Alberta and the Yukon Territory, then along the frost-heaved highways of central and southern Alaska. The return trip was by ferry down the inside passage. On arriving home, the camper was taken off and placed in the driveway, never to be used again.

Shortly after returning to work, Richard became involved in long distance running. A group of local doctors had issued a challenge to all competitors entered in the annual Garden of the Gods ten-mile race. Richard and five co-workers accepted the challenge; and even though they lost the race, all became hooked on running. Several dozen local races followed, including the grueling trek up and down Pikes Peak. By the early 1980's, Richard was in training for ultra marathons. He eventually entered two 50-mile races, three 12-hour ultras, and two 100-mile runs along the continental divide. His best effort at non-stop running was around a track in Denver - 90 miles in 24 hours.

When not running, Richard found time to develop his interest in history. He and his wife Mary Ann had become hooked on old diaries, espescially those detailing 19th-century travel over the Oregon Trail. Before long the two of them were spending their summer vacations visiting trail sites and tracing old wagon roads through the western states. After joining the Oregon-California Trails Association in 1986, they wrote a series of articles on the Pikes Peak Gold Rush for a national magazine. A book entitled Man in the Garden of the Gods followed, as did a number of talks to local historical organizations and involvement in a community project to help finance preservation in the city cemeteries.

Richard continues to reside in Colorado Springs with his wife Mary Ann. Both remain active in their literary and historical pursuits, although the fortuitous births of five rambunctious grandchildren have provided new opportunities for utilizing their free time to best advantage.



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