Memorials from Spring 2019
- Leland Huttner, 1953
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteLeland Huttner passed away on January 1, 2019.
- Hon. Robert Kelley, 1953
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteDistrict Court Judge (Ret.) Robert F. Kelley of Littleton, CO, passed away on July 7, 2018. Robert "Bob" was born in and grew up in Denver. He later moved to Englewood where he graduated from Englewood High School. Robert attended Mayflower Congregational Church and was active in the Lions Club, city planning and other programs in the community. He worked at many jobs until called for service in the Army near the end of WWII. Robert attended the University of Denver and graduated with a law degree in 1953. He practiced law in Englewood with Richard Simon until becoming a Municipal Court Judge. In 1968, he was appointed District Judge of the Eighteenth Judicial District of Arapahoe County by Governor Love. Later he became Chief Judge and was a dedicated and valued public servant for 19 years. Robert was one of the founders and Presidents of the Arapahoe County Bar Association and was instrumental in the planning and building of the new Justice Center in 1987. After retirement, he owned and managed Judicial Conference Mediators, Inc. where he assisted with settlement proceedings for another 12 years. Robert is survived by his wife Shirley of 68 years, daughter Colleen and Richard Hoffman of Ft. Collins, CO, son Dan Kelley of Albuquerque, NM, daughter Marsha and Paul Echols of Albuquerque, NM, and son Jeff and Dawn Kelley of Littleton, CO. They also have six grandchildren, Amy, Jordan, Kendall, Matthew, Mark, Sean and four great-grandchildren Mason, Rylan, Emma and Elliot. His wife and children knew him as a loving and gentle man who always had a open heart for anyone who needed a helping hand. He was always happy and had a big smile for anyone, especially his family. Robert delighted in gardening and beautifying his yard and always had a woodworking or repair project going on in his home workshop. Robert passed away in his home that he loved surrounded by family. A Memorial Service will be held 2:00 P.M. Saturday, October 13, 2018 at Drinkwine Family Mortuary. Memorial gifts may be made to Mayflower Church of Englewood.
- Hon. Jon Boltz, 1957
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteJudge Jon D. Boltz passed away on January 9, 2019 a brief battle with cancer. Jon was born November 9, 1931, to Earl and Bessie Boltz in Springfield, Ohio. He attended East High School in Denver and graduated from Denver University Law School. Jon served in the Army at the end of the Korean War, stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia. After graduating from law school, Jon was a private practice attorney in Denver and went on to become an Administrative Law Judge for the Social Security Administration. He strove to be a fair and impartial judge, and loved his work so much that he came out of retirement to serve as a Senior Judge. Jon traveled extensively all over the world and his passions included dancing and playing the piano. Jon was predeceased by his son Ben and his brothers Earl and Kelsey. He is survived by his sister, Paula Boltz; three of his four sons, Dan, Brad, and Jon; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Memorial services will be held in the late spring at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. The family requests that any donations be made to the American Cancer Society or Denver University Law School.
- W. Owen Nitz, 1959
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteA heartbroken family is sad to announce the passing of long time Las Vegas attorney W. Owen Nitz. Owen died on January 30, 2019 after a valiant, hard fought six month battle with cancer. Owen Nitz was born to William and Elizabeth Nitz in Brookings, South Dakota on September 3, 1932. His family moved to Sioux City, Iowa shortly thereafter where he lived for his first nine years before ultimately moving back with his family to a farm located just outside of Brookings where he was raised. Owen moved to Las Vegas in January of 1952 to serve in the United States Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base. Owen served until 1956 when he returned to college receiving his undergraduate degree from South Dakota State and ultimately his Juris Doctor in 1959 from Denver University Law School. During this time Owen married the love of his life, Janet, on August 2, 1957. Owen and Jan were married for 57 years until her untimely death in 2014. Jan and Owen moved to Las Vegas in 1960 where they settled and started their family. Owen ran an extremely successful law practice for over 55 years representing many influential and successful Las Vegas luminaries such as Ralph Engelstad, William Bennett, and Mayme Stocker, one of the holders of the first gaming license issued in Nevada. Owen was the trustee of the Stocker Trust which has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships to hundreds of UNLV engineering students over the last 40 years. Owen also acted as the attorney for many successful projects, including the Imperial Palace, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Imperial Palace Biloxi, the Ralph Engelstad Arena and Rhodes Ranch to name a few. Owen was one of the original trustees of the Engelstad Family Foundation and was instrumental in its incredible growth resulting in millions of dollars in donations over the last twenty years to charitable organizations in Southern Nevada and beyond. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Owen was instrumental in rebuilding both the IP Biloxi and the community itself. Owen became one of the most well respected attorneys ever in Southern Nevada representing people from all walks of life and positively influencing everyone in the legal community with whom he came in contact. Owen's generous spirit made him a pillar of the community in any number of volunteer and civic organizations such as The Lions Club, Legal Aid Society, a founding member of the Las Vegas Ski Club, Rotary Club and the Lake Mead Yacht Club. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Ralph Engelstad Arena at the University of North Dakota, on the Board of Directors for Opportunity Village, and volunteered his time for numerous other charitable causes . Jan and Owen attended countless charitable functions during their lives in Southern Nevada, including the Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow, Chefs for Kids, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Junior League, Opportunity Village, Andre Agassi Foundation's Grand Slam for Children, Nevada Ballet Theatre, UNLV Foundation's Annual Event, and many others, always generously donating to each cause. Owen and Jan were pillars of the Southern Nevada legal, social and charitable community and will be sorely missed. Owen's zest for life and adventure led him to travel the world over during his lifetime, both with his wife Jan and their three daughters. They traveled to all the continents except Antarctica. Owen and Jan traveled with their daughters across Europe, skied in the Swiss Alps, walked on the Great Wall of China, road the railway across Europe and saw everything there was to see during these travels. Later as their family grew, Owen and Jan took their daughters and grandchildren on trips to Hawaii and other places, always focusing on family and fun. Owen was an accomplished photographer who chronicled these adventures and every other event with amazing photos, many of which are displayed throughout the office building named for he and Jan in downtown Las Vegas. Owen and his wife hosted legendary parties over the years with Owen always leading the fun as the life of the party. For Owen, if you were a friend you were treated like family, and if you were a friend of a friend, you immediately became his friend. Owen built a magnificent park on his large estate and hosted incredible 3rd of July parties, throwback cookouts with friends and family, and the University of Wisconsin Marching Band, Bucky Badger and Wisconsin Cheerleaders on two occasions when the football team traveled to play UNLV. At all of these parties Owen would lead the festivities, dancing the polka with whomever would join him and generally making sure that all of the invitees had the greatest time ever. Owen also hosted an annual Christmas Eve open house, three weddings, countless Easter egg hunts, birthday parties, anniversaries and any event that needed a party. He was a longtime member of the Las Vegas Country Club, playing only one round of golf in his nearly fifty years of membership, but participating in all the social aspects of the club, including the infamous power lunches with all the movers and shakers of Las Vegas. OWEN LIVED AN EXTRAORDINARY, SUPER-FANTASTIC LIFE!!! Owen was preceded in death by his beloved wife Janet Nitz, his little brother John (Jack) Nitz, and his nephew Ryan Nitz. Owen is survived by his three daughters, Ashley Nitz, Stacey Albregts (Daniel), and Gina Nitz-Guevara (Mack Parker). Owen is also survived by his five grandchildren, Leah Holleran (24), Zach Albregts (23), Maddi Albregts (21), Spencer Guevara (20) and Alexa Guevara (18). He is also survived by his nephew Dana Nitz (Linda), their children Jordan, Cassie and Josh, and niece Lesli Metcalfe (Bill) and their children Darien and Connor. Owen is also survived by countless friends, clients and colleagues throughout the Las Vegas community and beyond. He touched countless people in Southern Nevada and beyond through his law practice, civic and charitable activities, and his zest for life. Owen's passing leaves a large void in the Las Vegas community. In his honor, live life to the fullest, enjoy everyone and every moment, and donate your time or money to a charitable cause in our community. If you wish to make a donation to a charity in his honor, please consider one of his favorites listed above. We know Owen would also want you to include Jan if you do.
- Valerie Brown, 1967Alumni Council member, Valerie Brown, passed away on February 22, 2019. A 1967 graduate of Denver Law and one of only two women students in her full-time JD class, Valerie was a true Pioneer. While in law school Valerie was a member of Kappa Beta Pi, the Civil Litigation Clinic, and Student Law Office. Valerie was a tremendous lover of animals and opera, and passionately supported access to education throughout her career. Valerie spent more than 20 years working for CU and the CU Foundation, most recently at the Denver campus before she retired in 2017. She was also the current president of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS), one of the numerous organizations she belonged to. A caring mentor, dedicated volunteer, and loyal alumna, Valerie will surely be missed by all who knew her.
- Allan Frank, 1967
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteM Allan Frank, 87, passed away peacefully with a loving smile, Friday November 23, 2018. In his last days, he regularly shared how blessed he was for a life filled with love and joy. Preceding him in death are his first wife Phyllis Susman and daughter Sandi Rosenthal. Surviving is his loving wife of 30 years, Margot Gilbert Frank, daughters Valerie (Norm) Roberts and Lisa Tharpe; grandchildren Craig (Valerie) Roberts, Brian (Ivana) Roberts, Matthew (Courtney) Rosenthal, Jennifer (Shane) Menter; great grandchildren Amelia Rosenthal, Mason and Landon Menter, and his two playful dogs Sadie and Wally and many devoted friends. Allan was born November 5, 1931 and raised in Denver by Gertrude and Moe Frank. He devoted his life to military, civic, community service and above all his wife and family. Allan had a passion for sports and amassed a remarkable collection of Yankees, Broncos and musician memorabilia. His infectious smile reflected the goodness and joy that filled his life. His enduring love for his wife Margot will always remind us of a pure, unselfish and kind heart. In junior high, he started delivering the Denver Post at 4 A.M. He was proud of his red bicycle and his paper route. In high school he worked at Bear Stadium for the Denver Bears, which was the Yankees’ Farm Team, sparking his lifelong love of the Yankees. After graduating from East high school in 1950, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on a Navy ROTC scholarship, graduating in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science in engineering. While at Rensselaer he was a mid-shipman in the Navy. He was proud to serve on the U.S.S. Missouri, the U.S.S. Magoffin and as a JAG officer in the reserves. He retired from active duty as a Naval commander and served in the Navy reserves until 1981. After college graduation, he married Phyllis Susman and began a career as an efficiency engineer at Martin Marietta and then Rocky Flats. He did not want to travel with the aerospace industry. Thus, in 1964 he entered the University of Denver Law School on the G.I. bill and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1967. After receiving his JD, he became a partner at Wright, Bowman, Shambaugh Law Firm. Followed by a long career at The Small Business Administration, he retired in 1990. While practicing law, he became active with the Colorado Democratic Party. In 1976, he served as the Colorado coordinator of the Frank Church presidential campaign and was a delegate to the Democratic Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York. In retirement he loved golfing, smoking cigars with friends, the Price is Right game show, being the house manager while Margot worked, babysitting his grandchildren and participating in a very active social life. He was a moderate Democrat all his life, who loved bantering conversation with many of his Republican friends. Over the years, he and his wife Margot, dedicated their lives to creating enduring impact through philanthropy. Together, they have established multiple endowed scholarships, professorships and programs at the University of Denver, as well as provide support to many organizations across the city. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in his memory to the Margot and M Allan Frank Endowed Scholarship Fund for students at the Sturm College of Law or the John J. Gilbert Endowed Scholarship Fund for Accountancy at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver or the charity of your choice.
- Robert Busch, 1968
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteRobert ("Bob") Gene Busch passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on October 7, 2018. Bob was born December 22, 1942 to Robert and Jean in Fort Collins, Colorado. Bob graduated from Dartmouth College (65). He returned to Colorado in 1965 and earned his J.D. at the University of Denver College of Law. While working as a tour bus driver in the summer between college and law school, Bob met the love of his life, Barbara Jean Grissom, who was working as a hostess at the Grand Lake Lodge. They married one year later, in August of 1966. After graduating from law school in 1968, Bob went into private practice in Jefferson County, Colorado. Throughout his 40-year law career, Bob practiced with thoughtfulness and consideration of his clients, his adversaries and the courts before which he appeared. After retiring from the law, Bob and Barb enjoyed traveling and spending time with their family. Bob is survived by his wife, their three children, Rob (Gretchen), Jeff (Carrie), and Jennifer (Kevin Harris), and his eight grandchildren, Logan, Andrew, Victoria, Mollie, Tatum, Alexandra, Luke, and Trey. Bob is also survived by his two brothers, Bill and Harold, and his sister, Betty. In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that donations be made in Bob's honor to the Alzheimer's Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601. A Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, October 15, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Denver West, 360 Union Blvd, Lakewood.
- Paul Jacobs, 1968
Obituary/Memorial WebsitePaul Jacobs, the man instrumental in bringing the Major League Baseball franchise that is the Colorado Rockies to Denver, died Monday, July 2, 2018. He was 78. Jacobs’ diligent attorney work first coalesced the Rockies’ initial ownership group that was awarded an expansion franchise on July 5, 1991. Secondly, he helped save the team from folding before it could start after felony fraud charges were brought against the team’s then-principal owner Mickey Monus. “I could not endorse those two concepts more,’’ Bob Kheel, the National League’s lead counsel from 1990-2000, said in a 9NEWS feature on Jacobs published on July 5, 2016 - the 25-year anniversary of Denver getting awarded its major-league franchise. “He was absolutely central in every aspect.’’ In 1990, political pressure had forced Major League Baseball to announce it would expand from 26 to 28 teams for the 1993 season. Denver was one of 10 cities to submit an application to join the big leagues and its prospects received a major boost when the city’s six-county taxpayers approved a 0.1 percent sales tax hike to construct a stadium that would become Coors Field.
- Karen Benson, 1977
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteKaren D. Benson, 67, passed away 11/29/2018. Survived by her husband, Charlie Frank; her daughters Ashley Frank and Kimberly Eggers (Kevin); granddaughters Avery and Emma; her brother Landis Benson (Janet) of Worland, Wyo.; 3 nieces and 1 nephew. Preceded in death by her parents, Dee and Helen Benson and her sister, Claudia. A memorial service will be held at North Highland Presbyterian Church, 2945 Julian Street, Denver, On Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Karen's name to the Salvation Army.
- Russell Pratt, 1982
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteRussell ("Russ") Condie Pratt, Jr., passed away peacefully in the afternoon of January 25, 2019, surrounded by family. Russ was born August 11, 1945 in Spokane, Washington to Marie and Russell Pratt, Sr. Russ served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. He completed his college education at the University of Washington upon returning home from his military service, after which he moved to Denver, Colorado. Russ attended law school at the University of Denver, where he met his wife, Deborah Isenberg Pratt whom he married in 1982. They had one son, Joel, in 1987. Russ is survived by his wife Deborah and son Joel (Rebecca), brothers Richard (Vickie) and Stephen (Bonnie), and sister Angie. Russ was preceded in death by his brothers Larry, Doug, and Alan. Russ loved riding his bike, spending time in the garden, exploring the mountains, and being with his family. Russ's kindness, gentleness, and sense of humor will be missed by all who knew him. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, donations may be directed in Russ's memory to the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network ("RMAIN").
- David Gaass, 1984
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteDavid Peter Gaass was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa on June 16, 1956 to Peter and Norma Gaass. He became baby brother to three older sisters, Pamela, Janis, and Karen. Dave grew up in Pella, Iowa where he showed an early aptitude for having fun, outdoor adventures, and making friends; themes that would continue throughout his life. He graduated from Pella High School in 1974 after enjoying many years on the golf and basketball teams. He could frequently be found carving up Red Rock Lake on his water ski, spending time with friends, golfing, fishing, hunting, and laughing amidst it all. Dave started his undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. In 1975, Dave met his best friend and partner in all of life’s adventures, Dawn Bonte of Oregon, Illinois. They started their next chapter in Flagstaff, Arizona where Dave attended Northern Arizona University. They enjoyed exploring the rugged beauty of Arizona and making friends. They returned to Pella in 1980 to get married in Scholte gardens (where it is reported at least one person clapped and cheered heartily at the kiss). Dave followed his father and grandfather’s footsteps in practicing law. He moved to Denver, and received his Law Degree from the University of Denver in 1984. Denver became his beloved home, and he quickly established a large, active, fun, and loyal group of friends who would become family. He explored the mountains, and delighted in finding the most beautiful and hard to find camping spots. He loved to hunt, fish, play guitar, and cook outdoors. Dave was gifted in the art of having fun, and was skilled in sharing his gift with all of those around him. He was undaunted by the work required to make it happen, and even managed to camp every single weekend one summer. Dave’s bond with Dawn over the last four decades has been a beautiful thing to see. For many, “Dave-and-Dawn” is actually just one word. They were uniquely suited as partners, and were always up to something fun. They explored, enjoyed the outdoors, parented, sang, danced, and enjoyed each other’s company in a way that was incredibly endearing. Dave was a devoted husband and friend. Their unique connection is an inspiration of the “meant to be,” category. Dave and Dawn welcomed Alexandria Dawn, Jesse David, and Gabrielle Bonte to the Gaass crew. Dave valued his role as father and undertook it with his loving, patient, and generous spirit. His beautiful and fun loving family is his enduring masterpiece. He delighted in all phases of parenting. He enjoyed coaching his kid’s sports teams and sharing his considerable camping and skiing knowledge with them. Dave was especially proud of the adults they have become. In addition to being the source of his deep pride, he also enjoyed the rare gift of having them each as close friends. He had special times with them going to concerts, boating, skiing, camping, traveling, hunting, fishing, and regular phone chats to stay connected. In 1996, Dave and Dawn selflessly and generously opened their home and expanded their family to include Dave’s sister Karen and his niece and nephew. This was not only a brother sister duo, but a deep friendship. They enjoyed historical, philosophical, and political discussions, golf, cheering for the Hawkeyes and Broncos, and countless hours of singing and dancing. Knowing Dave was to know that he loved his traditions. He faithfully returned to Pella each spring for Tulip Time. He was proud and honored to carry the Dutch flag in the parade each year in remembrance and connection with his heritage, and relished every opportunity to enjoy his favorite Dutch pastry, the illustrious puff pillow. Another tradition Dave enjoyed was his annual trip to the Lake of the Ozarks where he skied and taught his nieces, nephews, friends, and children to ski. He loved boating, swimming, spending time with friends, and fishing. He delighted in his undertaking of the yearly “fish feed,” that he spent countless hours fishing and preparing for, a genuine labor of love. Dave fed us all, literally and figuratively. The recounting of all his “little traditions,” will be the makings of shared stories and smiles for years to come. He embodied a complex blend of traditionalism and nonconformity, which was unique and authentic. His warmth and gregarious nature drew people to him. His constancy, strength, generosity, and kindness kept them close. Dave was a good and true man, like his father before him, a blend of John Wayne and Atticus Finch…with an added dash of a rock star and outdoorsman. He practiced family law, and was fulfilled by helping those who most needed it. He was a friend and helper to all, and our collective gratitude is abundant. We will cherish our memories of a great man and a life well lived. Dave’s spirit lives in us all, and we will continue to learn from his loving and genuine life. May that twinkling eye and twitching mustache reside in the hearts of all who loved him. On the evening of Saturday, September 29th 2018, Dave passed away, surrounded by family. His family includes his wife Dawn Gaass; three children Alexandria, Jesse, and Gabrielle Gaass; his sisters, Janis Patton and Karen Gaass. His parents, Peter and Norma Gaass, and his sister Pamela Robus preceded him in death. Memorial Dave Gaass Memorial Fund, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mary Catherine Ramsour, 1986
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteMary Catherine Ramsour was welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven and fully into the presence of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Saturday, January 19, 2019. Mary was born December 16, 1960, in Ann Arbor Michigan to Robert and Eileen Patchett and was a loving sister to her brother John Patchett and sister Joan Patchett Andrews. She received a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Northern Colorado and a Juris Doctor from the University of Denver School of Law. Mary left the practice of law to pursue her lifelong passion for music. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance, and a Master's Degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. She married her college sweetheart, Robert (Bo) Ramsour on July 21, 1984, and they share three beautiful and cherished girls - Anne, Abby and Grace. Mary was devoted to her precious daughters and instilled within them a deep sense of love, compassion, honor, and respect. Mary tirelessly and faithfully served the Lord in her position as Director of Music and The Arts at St. James Presbyterian Church in Littleton, CO. Through this ministry, she was able to marry her love of music with her passion to honor and glorify God. It was her constant prayer that all who entered the doors of St. James would experience the grace and love of Christ through music. Mary lived her life as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, always serving those in need. She walked this earth with humility and a gentle spirit serving as an example of the power of loving kindness to all who knew her. She will be missed greatly by those that love her though they are consoled by the certain knowledge that she walks with her Lord. Mary is survived by her husband Bo, daughters Anne, Abby and Grace, parents Bob and Eileen Patchett, brother John Patchett, sister and brother-in-law Joanie and David Andrews and their children Sarah, Catherine, and David Andrews, and her sister-in-law Sherry Ramsour. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8: So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Please share memories of Mary and condolence messages with her family at Horancares.com
- Kimberly Schowen, 1995
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteKimberly D. Schowen, aged 51, passed away unexpectedly at her Anchorage, Alaska, home on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018. Kim was born in Clinton, Iowa, to Gary and Janet (Hansen) Pinter on Saturday, Sept. 2, 1967, and moved to Phoenix, Ariz., in high school. Kim graduated from the University of Denver in 1995 with a law degree, during which time she received serious accolades and two Jurisprudence Awards for her academic excellence recognized by the United States Supreme Court. She completed her postgraduate work at the University of Florida. She was a member in good standing of the Alaska, Arizona and Colorado State Bar Associations. Kim was a practicing attorney at the time of her passing and worked for Acumen Information Services. Kim was an extremely intelligent and passionate woman who loved Alaska, enjoyed reading, politics, traveling, music, great food, going to movies and taking long walks with her husband, Kris and beloved dog, Atticus. Kim is survived by her husband, Kris of Anchorage; parents, Gary and Janet; brother, Brad Pinter and wife Marcia; niece, Kelsey; and nephew, Carson, all of Phoenix, Ariz.; and many relatives and friends in Iowa, Arizona and California. Please visit www.alaskanfuneral.com to leave online condolences.
- Madeline Mellers, 2002
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteMadeline was born September 8, 1976 in Springfield, Missouri and departed this life August 22, 2018 from complications of fighting colon cancer for five and a half years. Madeline graduated from Rye High School in Colorado City and Stetson University in Florida, where she played golf on a scholarship. She earned her law degree from the University of Denver Law School and was employed the past 10 years by the office of the Colorado Attorney General. During her too short time with us, Madeline lived life to the fullest. She loved playing golf with her friends and especially with her dad on their annual golf adventures. Madeline also loved traveling the world with her sister and friends. She touched many lives from her high school and college friends, to golf and traveling buddies, to work friends, to fellow cancer survivors, and to the people she hoped to help by participating in several clinical trials. Madeline will be remembered for her tremendous courage and willingness to help others fighting the cancer battle. She is survived by her mother Ann Bush (Chris), Colorado City, CO; her father Ed Mellers (Jane), Springfield, MO; her loving sister Missy Kehrli (Adam), and her very special nephew Jackson and niece Paige, Aurora, CO. She is also survived by step-sisters Ashley Yakes (Michael) and children Kat, Libby, and Maggie, Lake Forest, IL; Rachel Aarden and children Tess, Meret, and Willem, Basel, Switzerland. Other survivors include her grandmother Nancy Aton, aunt Sally Baird (Rob) and Julie Leeth (Bruce), uncle Fred Mellers, Crystal Harrington (Mark) and children Olivia and Harper Russel, all of Springfield, MO; aunt Mary Heausler (Tommy), Overland Park, KS; and longtime college friend Ashley Temple and her parents, Miami, FL. She was preceded in death by her grandfather Ray Aton, grandparents Jim and Marietta Mellers, and her step-brother Joe Russell.
- Carrie Lucas, JD 2005
Obituary/Memorial WebsiteThe disability community lost one of its fiercest advocates on 2/24/19. Carrie Ann Lucas, a disability rights attorney who pioneered representation for parents with disabilities, died after an arbitrary denial from an insurance company caused a plethora of health problems, exacerbating her disabilities and eventually leading to her premature death. She was 47 years old. Carrie Ann Lucas is known around the state and the country for her strong advocacy. Carrie Ann grew up in Windsor, Colorado and had several careers including being a teacher, ordained minister and legal assistant before becoming an attorney. Carrie graduated from Whitworth College in 1994, traveled and taught in Saipan, and then returned to the states to attend the Iliff School of Theology. She received a Master's of Divinity with Justice and Peace Concentration from Iliff in 1999, but during her time there, became increasingly involved in disability advocacy. After she graduated, she started working as an advocate and later legal assistant for the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, investigating, preparing, and monitoring disability rights cases and providing informal advocacy on a wide range of topics. While there, she was granted a full scholarship as a Chancellor’s Scholar at the University of Denver School of Law. Following her graduation from law school in 2005, she was awarded a prestigious Equal Justice Works fellowship to create a program to combat discrimination that impacts parenting for parents with disabilities. This program, initially started within the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, spun off to be Disabled Parents Rights, one of the only organizations in the country devoted to this issue. She also became a national expert and trainer on the rights of parents with disabilities and, through her legal advocacy, secured decisions upholding and promoting those rights here in Colorado. Most recently she was recruited by the Colorado Office of Respondent Parents Counsel to help set up a program to train other lawyers around the state to replicate the sort of impact she was making. In addition to these professional activities, Ms. Lucas was an advocate with the disability rights groups ADAPT and Not Dead Yet, speaking, teaching, writing, testifying, and protesting on disability justice and the rights of people with disabilities to healthcare and respect. She was also a talented photographer and cook. Carrie Ann was an activist at heart. She graduated from EMERGE, ran for Windsor City Council in 2017, and was planning on additional political activity. She was chair of Colorado Democrats with Disabilities for the past several years. She was a member of the ADAPT group that protested in Cory Gardner’s office and got arrested to help save the Affordable Care Act in 2017, particularly Medicaid. She served on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. She was active with Not Dead Yet and fought hard against physician assisted suicide and the notion that life with a disability is not worth living. She demonstrated every day how amazing life with a disability can be. She was given the Intersectionality Award from The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center in 2016. She was a leader in passing HB 18-1104 which changed Colorado law to make sure that disability was no longer a reason to remove a child from a parental home. There is much, much more. Carrie became a lawyer to practice family law after lived experience of discrimination against parents with disabilities firsthand. In 1998 fostered and later adopted her oldest daughter, Heather Lucas. Heather has significant developmental disabilities and was languishing in another state. She fostered and was preparing to adopt a second child, but that was disrupted due to prejudice against parents with disabilities. Where most people might be upset and feel helpless, Carrie Ann was furious and went to law school to represent parents with disabilities. Carrie adopted three more children over the years, Adrianne Lucas, Azisa Lucas and Anthony Lucas. All of her accomplishments centered on her dedication to her children and her role as a mother. All of her children have significant disabilities and Carrie Ann always made sure that they were not only educated and included in their communities, but that they were loved, respected, and supported in their individual hopes and dreams. In addition to her four children, Carrie Ann is survived by her parents Phil and Lee Lucas, sister Courtney Lucas, brother Eric Gover, her niece Danielle Mann, nephews Cody Mann, Gavin and Colin Lucas, Danielle’s partner Aaron Boone and their sons Izaiah, Kyal and Eli, Gavin’s wife Kathleen and their daughter Emily and Colin’s son Dakota. She is predeceased by a sister, Kelli Mann and her grandparents. She is also survived by her partner Dr. Kimberley Jackson, a CCDC Board member and activist in the disability community. She will be missed by a wide circle of friends and colleagues throughout the country.