| News |

Timber Dick daughter Charity Sunshine has double lung surgery, re-launches opera career

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Westword feature subject Timber Dick left behind a magnificent legacy when he died in an April 2008 car accident -- eleven remarkable children.

But the latest accomplishment by Charity Sunshine, Timber's daughter, is impressive even by Dick family standards. A renowned opera singer, she recently performed for the first time since undergoing double-lung surgery.

Dick's children, all home-schooled by their mother Annette in a big, old North Denver house Timber had retrofitted with his offbeat inventions, were already well on their way to world domination when he died. Several were working for top Washington power brokers (the oldest, Tomicah, is now a speechwriter for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton), others were jet-setting around the world for various causes and all of them joined forces after Timber's death to work on the IRIS engine, his last invention and the one they believed had the potential to transform the auto industry.

As for Charity Sunshine, she's belted out elaborate soprano melodies on stages worldwide, as well as creating original works like Facebook, the Musical. But her turn at the 2010 Patient Experience Summit at the Cleveland Clinic, the Ohio facility where her surgery took place, was more than simply another performance.

Several years ago, Charity was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, a serious condition in which arteries in the lungs constrict, slowly cutting off blood supply. It made activities like walking up flights of stairs a challenge, much less performing opera.

Eventually, Charity had to put her singing career on hiatus, and in September 2009 she was flown to the Cleveland Clinic for the emergency surgery. What followed were months of grueling recovery; she had to re-learn how to breathe, eat, talk and walk. No one was certain she'd be able to sing again, but eventually she started humming. Then came simple songs.

Now she can handle Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me," which she sang last week to the hospital staff who cared for her. She'll continue to train, with hopes of one day soon taking the opera world by storm.

Knowing her family, she probably will. Here's a video of Charity in action.


Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.