Jeanne “Gigi” Darricades December 29, 1952- April 22, 2020
Jeanne “Gigi” E. Darricades (67), of Alamosa, Colorado, died peacefully on April 22, 2020, after a five year courageous journey with an incurable cancer. This never deterred her from family, career, or helping others.
Jeanne “Gigi” was born to Dr. Alfonso E.L. Darricades and Catherine Visart Mullin Darricades on December 29, 1952 in Chuquicamata, Chile.
She spent her early childhood in Chuquicamata. Gigi attended and graduated from Bishop Strachan Boarding School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Gigi moved to California and attended De Anza Jr. College, then UC Berkeley where she earned her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science (’74). She obtained her Master’s Degree in Public Health (‘76) at UC Berkeley, thus following her father's passion for community health.
She began her career in rural health care in New Mexico, establishing clinics in western New Mexico.
In 1978 she moved to Gallup, New Mexico as Administrator of the McKinley General Hospital after working in Albuquerque as the Assistant Regional Administrator for the Presbyterian Hospital Center. It was there that she met the love of her life Mike Gibson. They moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1981 where she joined Intermountain Health Care Inc. serving in various capacities, including Director of Medical Affairs. While in Salt Lake City she earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Utah, and subsequently was admitted to the Bar in New Mexico, Wyoming and Colorado. Mike and Gigi moved to Gillette, Wyoming, where she practiced Health Care Law. They moved to Colorado in 1997, first living in the City of Craig where Gigi practiced Health Care Law. Gigi and Mike then settled in the City of Alamosa in 2000, and Gigi continued to practice Health Care Law. She subsequently practiced Environmental Law, becoming an expert in Land Conservation Law, representing the Rio Grande Land Trust and numerous private landowners.
In 2011 she was appointed President and CEO of Valley Wide Health Systems, again returning to her passion of rural health care. In this capacity she and her Management Team added clinics to the organization in San Luis, Antonito, Monte Vista and Canon City. The new Canon City Health Center was dedicated to Gigi on June 11, 2019. She served as an Officer on a number of state wide Boards, including the Medicaid Provider Rate Advisory Committee, Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care, Colorado Community Managed Health Care Network, and Colorado Community Health Network. The latter organization recognized her contributions by naming her the CHAMPS 2018 Stanley J. Brasher Legacy Award Winner, recognizing her dedication to solving problems of health, poverty, and human rights. In 2020 the organization declared March 6th. Gigi Darricades Day, stating that “She had earned the admiration and respect of her colleagues and staff for her dedication, professionalism, leadership, enthusiasm, fabulous sense of humor, and a legal mind with a big heart”. She retired from Valley Wide in 2019.
In Alamosa she embraced the community by serving on several Boards including KRZA, the community radio station, the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center, Adams State College, and the San Luis Valley Federal Bank. She was a supporter of nonprofits, including La Puente, the San Luis Valley Animal League and the Boys and Girls Club, the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project, and the Rio Grande Land Trust.
Gigi enjoyed travelling with Mike as they visited England, Africa, Cuba, and Canada. While in New Mexico she fell in love with ballooning and in Utah she obtained her Commercial Hot Air Balloon Certification. She and Mike participated in numerous balloon rallies and they organized a trip to England to fly there with friends. She also loved challenges on the ground and enjoyed White Water Rafting.
Gigi’s love for animals gave her much joy always having dogs and cats in her life. At the time of her death her animals were close by. The cats were Coco and Pixie and the dog Lady, who she enjoyed walking along the nearby Rio Grande.
In addition to her parents, Gigi is preceded in death by her sister Irene “Renee” Cox, husband of niece Stephen Sproule and great nephew
Danny Sproule. She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Mike Gibson. Also surviving Gigi is her sister Constance “Tonton” (Edwin) Baumgartner of Merced, California, brother in-law Sandy Cox of Langley, B.C. Canada, sister in-law Miriam (Simon) Richardson of Bedford, England. Gigi will be sadly missed as she was like a second mother to all her nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews who include: Holly (Stephen deceased) Sproule, Frances (George) Gallegos, Scott (Laura) Baumgartner, Bill (Melanie) Cox, Cathy (Vince) Lambert, Jacob, Maggie, Drew, Francisca, Brett, Samantha, Taylor, Elsie, Ashley, Curtis, Alexandra, Kiara, Wyatt, Riley, Courtney Reid, Oliver (Sarah) and Owen Richardson.
“Raise your eyes to the skies as we know Gigi loved to fly”.
A Celebration of life will be planned in the future when conditions around the country are safe for a gathering of family and friends.
If you would like to make a financial donation in Gigi’s name please make it to the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center, 225 6th Street, Suite B, P.O. Box 1534, Alamosa, CO 81101.