Our Founder

Richard Steckel 2014Dr. Richard Alan Steckel, who founded The Milestones Project, passed away in peace the morning of June 19, 2015.

Born on August 18, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York, Richard knew, early on, that he would travel the world and make it a better, and more just, place. And so, at age 19, he began the life he imagined, traveling to countries to aid those most in need; helping organizations throughout the world do better by “doing good;” and capturing, through photos, the commonalities that people share to create greater understanding among all.

Yet, for all he did, one of his greatest legacies was right here, in Denver, at the Children’s Museum. As Director, from 1976 to 1984, he brought the Museum to its current home—a dream he had from the moment he started.

Through all of his work, he was inspired to share what he had learned, publishing five books on marketing and fourteen photographic books with his wife Michele.

He did all of these things with a passion and a purpose. It was simply who he was. But his proudest accomplishment was always his family. Nothing mattered more to him or gave him more joy.

We will miss him greatly; for all those who knew him would agree:

  • There was no one kinder
  • No one a better listener
  • No one who did more for people – the stranger and the friend
  • No one who found more ways to teach and to learn, and
  • No one who found more satisfaction in doing good and serving others

And so, while we can never fill his shoes, we can walk in his footprints. And we will.

For as long as he lived…the way he lived his life inspired [many] to be better. To never be afraid of difference or of being ‘different.’ To cherish time with family and friends…He showed…that true heroism doesn’t come with a job description or job title. It doesn’t have to come with awards or citations…Heroism is simply the idea of living your life with a passion that it deserves. It’s knowing that independent thought and love-inspired vision are the greatest gifts we have been given, and that the chance to serve is the truest way of saying thank you. It’s understanding that at some point everybody will die, but not everybody lives.
–Wes Moore, The Work

In honor of Richard, please hug someone you love.


Michele, his loving wife of 52 years; his daughters, Robin, Traci, and Jill; his son-in-laws, Jon, Jeff, and Henry; his grandson-in-law, Anthony; his grandchildren, Taylor, Conor, Aidan, Sutton, Maddie, Josh, and Max; and his great-grandchildren, Hayden and Madison