Nathan (Nate) Lord passed away peacefully in the presence of his cherished wife Brenda Lord and with loving thoughts of his son Bryant Lord in Longmont, Colorado, on April 12, 2021.  Nate was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1954, the oldest son of Albert and Mary Louise Lord.  He is survived by brother Mark Lord, Mark’s wife Kit, and their daughter Katherine, of Northwood, New Hampshire.  Teacher, friend, coach and guide, Nate brought joy, compassion, and courage to every life he touched in the classroom and around the world. 

Nate inspired a generation of students as the Head of the English Department at the Dawson School in Lafayette, Colorado, where he provided all students with an understanding of the basics of English Literature and made sure that students were exposed to the experiences and literature of Native American, Native Hawaiian, Latinx and other writers.  Nate led annual experiential learning trips to explore writing on the San Juan River, learning and conserving Hawaiian culture through native landscapes and outrigger padding, as well as the annual junior class paddling trip through Ruby and Horsethief Canyons on the Colorado River, a Dawson rite of passage.  With every teachable moment, Nate fostered empathy and respect in young adults. He saw light and good in every soul, and he gently guided every student on the journey to becoming his, her, or their truest, best self. 

Nate transformed many other lives through his founding and running of the Dawson Canoe and Kayak Team for more than 25 years, as well as the founding and Presidency of Team Colorado Whitewater Racing Club.  Through these teams, Nate introduced kids (and some adults) to whitewater racing, river safety and the transformative beauty and spiritual power of rivers.  His athletes worked together to master difficult skills, competition, group safety, gear and care for the river environment.  Many of his students went on to international competition on United States canoe and kayak race teams.  Always learning as much as teaching, Nate traveled frequently to Hawaii to participate in outrigger canoe events. He felt privileged to work and learn from fellow paddlers in the Hanalei Canoe Club of Kauai and La Seu d’Urgell in Spain. Eventually Nate’s “ohana” (Hawaiian family) grew to include many in the local community, whose friendships and culture he cherished. 

Nate was a passionate outdoors person with his family and friends, canoe racing, paddling, skiing, hiking and biking.  He was a volunteer member of the Bryan Mountain Ski Patrol and regular volunteer for youth sports, races, and other events.  Nate tied the beauty of the outdoors with the beauty of the human experience through writing, reading, sponsoring the literary journal at school, music and dancing.  Nate also sang bass for 30 years in the Boulder Messiah Chorale with Brenda.  

Reflecting Nate’s deep concern for the health and safety of his loved ones and community, a memorial service will be scheduled in future when safe for all.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that everyone reach out to serve, promote justice and foster beauty.  Our beloved friend and mentor will be missed but never forgotten.

3 thoughts on “Nathan Eliot Lord”

  1. Wow. Nate Lord was a gem. We really liked him.
    He fully participated in life. He lived out loud. What a great example–an easy person to celebrate!!
    He had such a unique tone of voice, and we were in awe of his musculature.
    He was so open-minded and receptive. He was always kind, welcoming, supportive, and present.
    We are still tickled watching clips of him playing music for the students in his class.
    May his memory bring warmth to all who knew him.
    May all who are grieving ride the wave of appreciation of his contributions.

  2. Nate was a great man. Who spoke thoughtfully and never said anything bad about anyone. He was patient, kind and was a great role model for all the youngsters he taught and coached. There’s a hole in our world without Nate. But his impact will remain in our memories for eternity. He was a great athlete and put his heart and soul into all things paddling. We will miss him and his visits to Kauai

  3. I was Nate’s student at the Susquehanna School in Upstate New York in the early 1980’s. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a finer instructor. When my family moved away, he gave me a sighting compass as a parting gift – something I keep to this day. Knowing, even then, and even as young as I was, that he was such a skilled and worldly outdoorsman, it was akin to receiving a magical item. And he was a pretty magical man.

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