Patrick Etchart, who served as spokesman for the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant for 17 years, passed away Thursday of complications from lung cancer.

Etchart, a native of Las Animas, Colorado, was 65 years old. He graduated from the University of Colorado–Bolder with a journalism degree in 1973. He worked as a reporter and editor at Lamar (Colorado) Daily News, the Idaho Falls (Idaho) Post-Register, Bent County (Colorado) Democrat and Longmont (Colorado) Times-Call. He was publisher of a weekly newspaper in Cañon City from 2001 through 2003.

In 1984, Etchart went to work as a public affairs specialist at Rocky Flats for the Department of Energy contractor Rockwell International. He left Rocky Flats in 2001 as environmental cleanup operations began, transferring to the Department of the Interior's Office of Natural Resource Revenue at the Lakewood Federal Center. He retired in 2015.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Janet (Minor) Etchart. He's also survived by daughters Patricia, Rachael and Angela, as well as Angela's daughter, Sophia.

In his final days, Etchart began preparing his obituary. In part, it read:

"Prior to his death, Etchart praised every person he met throughout his life who shared their knowledge, wisdom experience, integrity, empathy and commitment to doing the right thing.

"'Thank you all for my wonderful life,' he said."

A celebration of life for Etchart will be held at 2 p.m. July 14 at the Lakewood Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St.