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Tracey Garchar, head of Mesa County Human Services, passed away this weekend

Garchar leaves behind a wife and three daughters
Garchar leaves behind a wife and three daughters(Credit: Mesa County Department of Human Services)
Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 7:25 PM MDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2021 at 7:26 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Tracey Garchar died unexpectedly on Sunday at just 48 years old. He was the Executive Director of Mesa County’s human services department.

Garchar reportedly passed away in his sleep while on a hunting trip in his hometown of Dove Creek, Colorado. His cause of death is unclear at this time. Garchar was a husband, and a father to three daughters.

Friends and colleagues say he was passionate about helping the people of Mesa County.

“Tracey Garchar was all about partnerships,” says Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland. “Partnerships with non-profit agencies, with other departments within the county, with law-enforcement, the health department -- he really was a team player.”

Rowland was on the board that hired Garchar for the position back in 2010. He had previously served as Director of the Mesa County Workforce Center, and was the health department’s interim director before Jeff Kuhr was hired.

With both health and human services based out of the same building, Kuhr says it was a crucial partnership for each department.

“Health and human services working together is a much more powerful thing than either of our agencies alone,” says Kuhr, Executive Director for Mesa County Public Health. “I would watch Tracey and think, I need to model myself after the way he behaves. He was just the real deal, and he did a lot of work on behalf of other agencies.”

For now, Barb Golden will serve as acting director of the human services department. She is currently the director of fiscal operations and quality assurance.

Garchar was an avid cook. He would smoke dozens of turkeys for the health and human services Thanksgiving lunch every year. Kuhr says his friend was also particularly passionate about child welfare and fundraising for children.

“It was a sad, sad loss for me when I heard the news,” reflects Kuhr. “Those types of people don’t come along too often. We will miss Tracey Garchar.”

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