If you've ever taken the family to A Carousel For Missoula, or stopped over there for one of their many events, or even just took a second to admire the handiwork... you owe it all to Chuck Kaparich.

Kaparich was a carver who spearheaded the movement to get A Carousel For Missoula off the ground in the early '90s. It was finally finished in 1995, after Kaparich had acted as lead designer and carver on the project for that entire half-decade, drawing inspiration from his childhood, his grandfather, and his love for the beauty of horses. And unfortunately, Missoula recently heard the news that Chuck Kaparich has passed away at the age of 73.

The Carousel held a small tribute to Kaparich this past Sunday - there was a small ceremony, followed by an empty ride in his memory. Afterwards, rides on the carousel were free for the rest of the day.

The Missoulian's profile on Kaparich (linked above) goes into significant detail about his life and background, and does a great job diving deep into the history of a man who dedicated his life to his art and his family. Missoula is certainly a richer place for having had him in it.

Were you there when A Carousel For Missoula opened over 25 years ago? Do you remember the grand opening ceremony, with a parade leading up to it and a line stretching all the way to the Wilma? It's not often a creation unites the entire community in that way - and A Carousel For Missoula has continued to do so.

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