Rick Pole passed away on May 1, 2022. His life began in Covington, Virginia located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, only to end too soon in the Rocky Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah. In between, Rick lived a life of his own making, filled with adventure and a love of our beautiful earth.

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After a youth spent delivering papers, running around with friends, and discovering pre-historic artifacts in the farm fields of Virginia, Rick completed a Bachelor's Degree from Ferrum College in Ferrum, Virginia. Following his graduation, Rick embarked on a great physical quest: riding his bicycle across the U.S. and into Canada, completing his journey in Seattle, Washington. He met many fellow travelers and countless kind people who would offer a camping spot or a warm meal along the way. He recounted many stories over the years with his friends and family, and was grateful for the opportunity to complete such a journey.

Although at times he thought he would quit the ride early, he saw it through and was determined to make his life in the western U.S. He made his start in Glenwood Springs, Colorado where he spent some time skiing and working a bit to support his interests in exploring the west. This is also where he met his wife of 34 years, Ann Rabatsky.

He moved on to Logan, Utah and completed his Master's Degree in Watershed Science, then settled in Salt Lake City, Utah. His career in the environmental field spanned the next 30 years, and he eventually established his own business, Alpine Environmental Consultants, primarily monitoring water quality and researching environmental hazards on commercial properties.

These years also were filled with his primary love - the great outdoors. He explored the mountains, peaks, valleys, and canyons of Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. His early interest in pre-historic civilization expanded through his exploration of the numerous dwellings of the Southwest. This led him to learn of the living descendants of these peoples, and their traditions and arts. He dedicated countless hours in the service of the elders involved in the Adopt-A-Native Elder program, and immersed himself in their weaving arts. He also supported a lovely Navajo grandmother for several years until her death. Throughout, he developed several friendships and experienced some '...from birth to death, we travel between the eternities...' of the happiest years of his life.

Sadly, the later years of his life comprised a journey that was far too challenging to overcome. He and his wife shared a great love for the family and friends in their lives, notably his brother Barry Brady and his family; the Rabatsky siblings and their families; their Dinner Group companions; the many neighbors in his Sugar House and Emigration Canyon communities; and the Fuchs and Blackburn families. And while all this love helped keep the oppressive despair at bay, this was the one journey he could not see his way through.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Ray and Dain Pole, and his in-laws, Robert and Margaret Rabatsky.

A Celebration of Life Memorial is being planned to give his family and friends the time to remember the man they loved; the details will be announced at a later date. The outpouring of love showered on his wife has sustained her through her grieving. Kindly consider supporting her, and remembering Rick, by making a contribution in his name to Adopt-A-Native Elder, Utah Donor Connect, or an organization significant to you.


Celebration of Life

Sunday, Jul. 24, 2022 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Washington Terrace - Lower Terrace
Mountain Dell Golf Course
Salt Lake City, UT 84109

Life Story Info


Ann Pole

Post Date

May 06, 2022


Personal Info


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NEXT David NaVon Hansen David NaVon Hansen


Dear Ann,

I don’t know if you remember me- i was a neighbor in Pinecrest. I just learned of Rick’s passing. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I didn’t know you two well, but my memory of you both is a feeling of gentleness and kindness.

As you probably know, I lost my husband Kurt 5 1/2 yrs ago. It is so hard to go through. I share this only to let you know that it’s true that it gets much better with time. And also, it’s been helpful for me to finally realize that the missing and grief never totally ends. Acceptance of that as a normal part of having loved and shared your life with someone has helped me to ride the waves more easefully and to be kind to myself in the process.

With love, Shaari

Shaari Peddersen , Salt Lake City , UT, US Jun 30, 2022

What a lovely surprise to come across your note today. I do remember you well, and I felt so sad when I heard about Kurt's passing. I am grateful for your thoughts about what you have been through, as it is all only beginning for me. It is truly the most difficult experience I have had in my life. Please feel welcome to come to Rick's Celebration of Life; I have a feeling that many of our Pinecrest neighbors will be there.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US Jun 30, 2022

We are saddened beyond words for your loss. May your memories of all the adventures you and Rick shared comfort you at this time

mary and gary halsey May 21, 2022

Thank you, Mary & Gary. I appreciate your support.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 26, 2022

REMEMBERED JOY (an old Irish funeral poem)

I could not stay another day,

To love, to laugh, to work or play;

Tasks left undone must stay that way.

And if my parting has left a void,

Then fill it with remembered joy.

Remembering all the good times Rick. I know you are at peace.

Kathy Rabatsky May 19, 2022

I love this. Thanks, Kathy.

Ann Pole May 20, 2022

Rest high on a mountain Rick. You were a gentle soul and will be missed by many. I pray Tom was there to greet you when you arrived.

Thoughts and prayers of peace to Ann.

stewart Goodwin , Richmond, VA, US May 14, 2022

That is lovely, Stewart. Thank you.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 18, 2022

So Sorry to here about Rick He was a good friend. I think about him often. I always though our paths would cross again. But I guess now that will be in heaven.

Frank & April Reyns May 09, 2022

Thank you, Frank & April. I encouraged him to get back in touch with old friends. I want you to know, Rick never lost his love of searching for artifacts. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!), he couldn't bring them home as they were on public lands. It was his favorite past-time when we were out hikin.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 09, 2022


I'm sorry to hear of Rick's passing. He was a great guy and will be missed.

Mike Shipler

Mike Shipler , Murray, UT, US May 09, 2022

It's certainly the saddest of times for me.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 09, 2022

I have no words to express my sincere sadness. I have many memories of family gatherings in Covington which I hold dear. The entire Steele clan loved and admired Rick for his adventures and pursuit of happiness. We missed him in Virginia but were glad he found his home in Utah. We are grateful for the love you gave him Ann and he will forever live in our hearts until we see him again

Cindy Hubbard May 08, 2022

Oh, Cindy. My grief feels insurmountable, but my friends and family have a solid rock of support. Thank you for you lovely note.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 08, 2022

Rick was the nicest, most honest, sincere person I’ve ever met. We knew each other when I worked at Utah DEQ and he with a private firm. He supported his wife through breast cancer; I’m so happy to know she beat it! I will always remember him smiling, upbeat and hard working. Please accept my deepest sympathy. Robin Davis

Robin , Salt Lake City , UT, US May 08, 2022

Thank you, Robin. Rick was so special. (On a side note, I am doing well, with no history of breast cancer)

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 08, 2022

Oh Ann, I’m deeply sorry for your loss. I’ve enjoyed watching your hike adventures together and I know how much you’ll miss him. Enjoy your memories and keep them in your heart.

Janet Woodruff , Salt Lake , UT, US May 07, 2022

Thank you, Janet. I'm feeling so deeply sad.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 08, 2022

So much love and gentleness to you Ann. I am keeping you in my heart.

Margaret Miller , Heber City, UT, US May 07, 2022

Thank you, Margaret. I drove by your horses today & thought of you. I didn't see you, but if I had, I would have stopped to say hello.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 08, 2022

Hi Ann,

Every word written with such love. I remember a few really amazing hikes with you and Rick. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Sally Pfeiffer , Blue Ridge , GA, US May 07, 2022

Thank you for checking in, Sally. We often talked about those hikes with you and Jan. Good memories.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 08, 2022

Rick was a wonderful, kind man and he will be missed! His passing is heartbreaking! You are in my thoughts.

Mary Frances Litzler May 07, 2022

Thank you, Mary Frances. I hope to talk to you soon.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 08, 2022

Condolences for your loss!! Grew up in same neighborhood as a kid! RIP!!

Dwain Tyree , Hot Springs , VA, US May 07, 2022

I recognize the name. Post a picture of you two, if you have one

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 08, 2022

My heartfelt condolences to all lucky enough to enjoy Rick as so beautifully described in this tribute, most especially to Ann.

Steve Brewin May 07, 2022

Thank you Steve. It's been so sad and painful. I appreciate you signing the guestbook.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 08, 2022

The depth of your love and compassion is transparent in every word and in reading between the lines. I am so sorry for your loss.

Thank you for sharing this beautifully written portrait of Rick.

Jaye Rieser May 07, 2022

Thank you, Jaye. It took awhile to put this one into words.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 08, 2022

Ah, Ann - this breaks my heart. What a kind soul he was. Have missed you two in recent years.

Craig Payne , Park City, UT, US May 06, 2022

Thank you, Craig. I have really missed you all at ANE.

Ann Pole , Salt Lake City, UT, US May 08, 2022


  • 1980
  • 1985

    Florissant, Colorado Hot Air Balloon Launch

  • 1988

    Wedding Day

  • 1990
  • 1998

    1st visit to Navajo Reservation with Adopt-A Native Elder

  • May 1998

    This is a group picture of the support people of the Adopt a Native Elder program, of which Rick was a large part. RIP, Rick🌈

  • 2010
  • 2010

    Adopt-a-Native Elder Rug Show, Deer Valley, Utah

  • 2010

    Rick and Ann with Ann's mother Margaret after hot air balloon ride in Taos, New Mexico.

  • 2010

  • 2011

    Ann and Rick with Ann's mother Margaret in Hawaii. Beautiful time!

  • 2011

  • 2012

    Ann and Rick in Ireland with Ann's sister Kathy.

  • 2013

    Rick enjoying one of his favorite places, Yellowstone.

  • 2015

    Rick and Ann at Ann's mother's 90th birthday party.

  • 2017

    A dinner club night...

  • 2018

    Ann and Rick with Ann's mother Margaret. Beautiful helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon with a champagne lunch. I'm sure Ann and Rick would have loved to hike this one but it waould have been too much for mom Margaret at 93.

  • 2018