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By Jan Wondra
Former Greenwood Village Mayor Harold W. Patton, Jr. died Feb. 28. Born in 1931, the Colorado native was 85. He was mayor during one of the most formative times in the history of Greenwood Village, from 1969 to 1977.
“I had the distinct honor and pleasure of knowing Harold Patton personally, not withstanding the hiatus between our service as mayors,” said Greenwood Village Mayor Ron Rakowsky. “He was an extremely articulate person who had an engaging personality and maintained the ability to relate til lthe very end of his life.”
Patton grew up to become an Air Force pilot and moved to Greenwood Village in 1964. He served on the Colorado Aeronautical Board and was involved in the Arapahoe County Airport, which became today’s Centennial Airport.
Prior to 1967, Greenwood Village was predominately a residential area, with homes, farms and open space. Patton was elected to the City Council in 1965, just as the city was turning from rural to suburban. George Wallace, whose purchase of 40 acres at the edge of Denver had turned him into a developer, approached then- Mayor John Wood about annexing what he had begun to call the Denver Technological Center in to Greenwood Village. When Patton became mayor in 1969, he oversaw the transition from a city government based on residential property tax to a tax base built on commercial business to cover the cost of road maintenance, police protection and other services. Annexations also gave Greenwood Village the ability to control zoning in areas near existing neighborhoods.
The nearly decade-long expansion of Greenwood Village led by Patton created the outlines of the city today.
Patton himself defined it this way: “My council was made up entirely of business people, who were very bright. They knew that homes do not pay for themselves. The city needed a larger tax base.”
The 1975 annexation of land in the DTC and Greenwood Plaza, as well as land toward the east, blocked Denver’s attempted moves to the south and east, protecting the tax base for Cherry Creek Schools.
These moves (by Denver) “would leave Cherry Creek Schools standing empty with people paying for bonds,” said Patton.
The 1970s were known in Greenwood Village as an era of good government. Not only did Greenwood Village withdraw from the recreation district and create its own Parks Trails and Recreation, it began to focus on public spaces and art. In 1978, Greenwood Village government got a new home, building a two-structure complex at 6060 S. Quebec St.
Shirley Anne Smith died Feb. 11. She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Gerald Smith and her three children, Nathan Smith, Matthew Smith, Anne Smith and five grandchildren.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Utah, major in English, minor in art. She was an award-winning, experienced, creative editor and journalist. Skills also included writing, community relations and public speaking.
She was a reporter and editor for the South Suburban Sentinel newspaper, Littleton Sentinel Independent newspaper, Get up and Go magazine (formerly Beacon Review newspaper) and The Villager newspaper.
She was a Pulitzer Prize nominee in 1987, received two National Mature Media Awards, awards from the Colorado Press Association, the Colorado Society of Professional Journalist, National Federation of Press Women and Colorado Press Women state sweepstakes winner.
She won more than 30 awards from Colorado Press Women, including first place honors in feature, interview, news, play review, book review, editorials, columns and special supplements.
In the community she was on the Volunteers of America Centennial committee, National Press Foundation, AARP Fellowship in Washington D.C., board member of Denver Women’s Press Club and Salute to Seniors event.
She lived in Littleton for 50 years.
A memorial service will be held Friday, Feb. 26, at 10 a.m., at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 1401 E. Dry Creek Road, Centennial.
Sheldon Roger of Cherry Hills Village died Feb. 20. He was born June 15, 1929, to Sarah and Abraham Roger in Gary, Indiana, the second of three children.
He graduated from Indiana University on June 12, 1950, with an undergraduate degree in anatomy and physiology and was a member of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity.
He earned his Doctorate in Medicine from Indiana University on his 24th birthday, June 15, 1953, and completed an internship and residency in surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC in 1955.
He served as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Core from 1955 – 1957 with the majority of that time spent at Fort Lewis base in Tacoma, Washington
He moved to Colorado and completed his orthopedic residency at the University of Colorado Medical School in 1960 with orthopedic practice at Rose Medical Center, VA hospital doctor and volunteer for more than 50 years serving as Chief of Orthopedics for a short period of time for the VA in 1997-1998
He was the team orthopedic physician for the Denver Nuggets (his dream job) for 12 years.
He was an associate clinical professor of medicine in the department of orthopedics at the University of Colorado Medical School. He was dearly beloved by all of his patients and colleagues.
Skiing with family and friends was one of his greatest joys. Golf was his real passion. He belonged to Green Gables for many years and was an accomplished golfer. Shelly competed and won numerous tournaments while a member there.
Shelly played the violin and the piano. He started playing the piano at age 5. To earn money in high school he played the piano for ballet classes. Played in his high school orchestra and was concertmaster.
During the last three years of his life, with his own memory issues, he would go to retirement homes and play the old classics once a week for memory care patients. This brought him great joy and purpose. When asked why he did this, he said he felt he needed to give something of joy to those who could not get it for themselves.
Music was truly one of Shelly’s lifelong passions. He loved sharing that passion with his friends and dinner parties and with his grandchildren whenever they came to the house.
He loved the opera and loved classical music.
He was an avid Denver Broncos fan and season ticket holder since their inaugural season in 1960.
Contributions in Shelly’s memory can be made to The Denver Hospice or Alzheimer’s Association of the Rocky Mountains.
He was so very proud of his family, his children their successes and what great parents they all are to their own children. Sheldon is survived by the love of his life, Carol; children, David Roger, Stephen (Juliet) Roger and Dr. Jeffrey (Dr. JoAnna) Roger, Stephanie Kingdom (Dr. Todd) , David (Molly) Rudnick and brother Dr. Burton (Alfie) Roger.
He is also survived by his nine grandchildren: Jack and Andrew Roger, Ben and Nathan Kingdom, Annie, Emily and Samantha Rudnick and Julian and Lauren Roger. Also the family dogs: Snej, Bob, Georgia and Peyton.
Services were held Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. at Hebrew Educational Alliance, 3600 S. Ivanhoe St. in Denver.
Save the Caucus has been registered as a Colorado political committee. John Wren announced the new Save the Caucus effort on a video that can be seen on www.JohnWren.com and on YouTube and Google+ Hangouts.
“The Caucus killers are coming,” said Wren in the video. “Any one who is not against the Colorado Caucus is for us. Legislators and party leaders who have been entrusted with this wonderful grassroots system will very likely face a recall if try to kill it.
“Attend one of your neighborhood’s March 1 Colorado caucuses. If you were affiliated by the deadline you can vote, otherwise attend to just observe and report what you see. Community newspapers are urged to ask their readers to file reports as citizen journalists. $5,000 is being raised to create a contest for Citizen Journalism and/or Reporting on the Colorado Caucus with the Colorado Press Association.”
The original Save the Caucus was formed by Wren, Frank Sullivan, Bill Armstrong and others in 2002 to fight Amendment 29, which would have killed the grassroots system. Despite being outspent 1400 to 1 the committee was able to defeat Amendment 29, 60 percent – 40 percent.
Wren’s neighbor was Lyle Lindesmith, who for years lead a program called Action Class in Practical Politics that taught hundreds of Colorado citizens how to run for elected public office or to help get other good people elected. Wren helped Lindesmith with what is believed to be the last session. It was held in the old Petroleum Club Building, and was attended by someone with no political experience who is now a well known Denver political figure who served in many capacities and been elected repeatedly at the local and state level until recent retirement.
For more information and to volunteer contribute money, call 303-861-1447.
Franklin Kenney Southworth
Second generation native Denverite Frank Southworth was born at Denver’s Mercy Hospital where his grandfather, Dr. Franklin Kenney, was chief of staff in 1925.
In 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps the day before his 18th birthday. He served overseas in Okinawa and the Philippines and was honorably discharged three years later. After serving in the military, he entered the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in economics in 1950.
He married his wife of 66 years, Doris, while in college and was a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. After graduation, he joined Gulf Oil Corp. in Boston, Massachusetts. Their first child, Glenn, was born in 1952. In 1955, he and his wife were transferred to Denver as Gulf’s resident manager of marketing and real estate. Their son, Glenn, passed away from leukemia in 1957.
Frank left Gulf Oil in 1958 to start Horizon’s Inc., a commercial construction company with two partners. In 1960, he was appointed Manager of Revenue for the City and County of Denver by then Mayor Richard Batterton. At 34 years of age, he was the youngest to hold that position in the city’s history, at that time. That same year, his daughter, Nancy (Puckett), was born. During that period he was also a member of the first Board of Directors of the Denver Metro Sanitation District 1 (’61-’63). In 1963 his son Scott was born. That same year, Frank joined OK Tire & Rubber Co. Inc. in Littleton and became their general sales manager. He was part of the ownership syndicate, which eventually sold to Ashland Oil Co. in 1966. After the sale, Frank formed his own Real Estate Co, Southworth & Co.
In 1967, Frank was chairman of the Colorado Reagan for President Committee through the Republican National Convention in Miami to which he was the alternate delegate from Colorado (1968). In a citywide election in 1969, Frank was elected to the Denver Board of Education for a six-year term with 76,000 votes, the largest in history to that time. He served as president of the Denver School Board from 73-74. In 1972, Frank was elected to two terms to the Colorado House of Representatives. In 1974, he received the Republican nomination to run for the U.S. Congressional seat in District 1. In 1975, Frank was the founding director and the first president of the National Association for Neighborhood Schools Inc.
He continued his public service by serving on the boards of the Denver Art Museum, Centennial Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Foundation for State Parks, the Quick Foundation and the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation. Frank was also a member of the Metro Capital improvement District, Municipal Finance Officers Assoc., National Association of Realtors and the National Rifle Assoc., a Kentucky Colonel and attended Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church.
Frank is survived by his wife Doris, daughter Nancy, son Scott, daughter-in-law Suzie, son-in law Jeff Puckett and only grandchild, Chase.
Services will be held Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m., at Greenwood Community Church with a reception at 4 p.m. at Cherry Hills Country Club, 4125 S. University Blvd., Cherry Hills Village.
Brady “Bert” Neely
Brady Bertram Neely (aka Raoul, aka Bert, aka B), 65, of Centennial, died on Jan. 1. He was born in Phoenix, Ariz., raised in Hillsboro, Ill., schooled in Carbondale, IL, worked in Chicago, IL and finally found his true home at Denver. There he married his wife Patti and raised two sons.
Bert was a unique individual, who, despite trying to remain “humbly obscure,” got involved in many activities that defied that wish. His passion for debate and meeting new people led him to varied interests, including politics and vanning. This, in turn, earned him many friends around the world. His proudest accomplishment was the Vanning yearbooks he published in 1992 and 1993. He enjoyed writing articles for vanning magazines and forums that could spark controversy, or create tears for the readers, but he was always sincere in his honesty and caring about vanning.
He participated in politics and government issues. His work with committees, causes, and campaigns gave him a forum for his great love of intelligent debate and meeting new and interesting people. He loved the outdoors and the amazing bright blue Colorado skies, though in his later years, he appreciated the outdoors mostly via idly chatting with his wonderful neighbors and sitting on his patio, lapping up the sun and watching people go back and forth on the High Line Canal.
He delighted in good parties, friends, love of his family and his family reunions. Those of us who knew him loved his honesty, his dry sense of humor, and his ability to talk to anyone with ease. The world has lost a special individual, who will be missed, but who was loved, and, in that, there can be no greater reward for a life well lived.
His wife Patti Jansen, his sons Davis and Lee Neely and his sisters Marsha Jones and Sue Calufetti will miss him every day. With many good memories they will keep him alive in their hearts every day.
As Bert requested, please plant a tree in his honor, or make a donation to National Public Radio, in lieu of sending flowers. A wake will be held to celebrate Bert’s life on Sunday, Jan. 31, from 1 – 5 p.m. at Two Penguins Tap and Grill, 13065 E Briarwood Ave, Centennial (closest cross streets: Arapahoe Road and Revere Street). If you are so inclined come prepared to say a few words in celebration of Bert’s life or tell some stories if you have any. The first drink is on Bert, with a cash bar after that. Food will be provided.
Sidney Levin, writer and real estate investor who was the first editor of TV Guide in the western U.S., and who launched a successful venture to revive Denver’s historic Buckhorn Exchange steakhouse and remained one of its owners, died Jan. 17. He was 88 and lived in Greenwood Village.
Levin wrote for The Davenport (Iowa) Daily Times before moving west to Denver in 1953, where he became editor of the Western edition of TV Guide, building it into a major publication that mirrored the explosive growth of television during its early days in Colorado. After TV Guide was purchased by Walter Annenberg, Levin went into real estate – in 1978, assembling a partnership including real estate developers Roi Davis and Marvin Naiman and Colorado ski pioneer Steve Knowlton, to acquire the Buckhorn Exchange, Denver’s oldest restaurant, founded in 1893, which by the 1970s was struggling for survival under its original family owners.
The Buckhorn, which early-on had been a bar, restaurant, paycheck exchange and house of prostitution beside the railyards a mile southwest of Larimer Street, thrived under its renewal by Levin and his partners, who marketed a history that highlighted its guns and other western memorabilia, including numerous photos of famous patrons including Buffalo Bill and President Teddy Roosevelt. By the 1990s, its buffalo steaks and other exotic game fair had drawn an international clientele, prompting Levin to print a menu in Japanesea.
Levin and his partners then acquired the historic Carnegie Library in downtown Littleton, which in 1986 they launched into the Kandahar, a ski-themed restaurant celebrating Colorado’s Tenth Mountain Division in which Knowlton had been a veteran. The library (it’s now leased as the Melting Pot restaurant) is still owned by the partnership. Levin remained active in Denver commercial real estate and was involved in preservation of buildings along Denver’s Sixteenth Street Mall, including the Symes and University Buildings at Champa Street.
Sid Levin was born April 11, 1927, in Kansas City, Kansas and spent his early years in Minneapolis. In 1945, he served in the U.S. Army, one of 35,000 American Jews to serve their country under arms during the war against Nazi Germany. After the war he enrolled in the University of Minnesota, graduating with a journalism degree.
In 2005, Levin himself became the subject of a major Denver news story when a giant dump truck jumped from a freeway overpass during construction of the T-REX project, crushing his car on the road below. The story was featured day after day in headlines and television news, as Levin fought back from severe injuries and the slimmest chances of survival. He recovered after nine weeks in Swedish Medical Center’s trauma unit, followed by months of rehabilitation.
Following his recuperation Levin returned to writing, authoring a 650-page novel The Rest Is Silence, about two brothers growing up in a poor Jewish neighborhood of Minneapolis, as the Second World War was gathering. The book, recently completed before his passing, remains unpublished.
Levin, who died Sunday following a respiratory infection, is survived by his wife of 64 years, Renae Dechter Levin; son Bradley A. Levin and his wife Patti Jo Robinson; daughter Beth and her husband Mark Samuelson, son Ted Levin and wife Jenifer Crolius Levin, daughter Laure Levin and her husband Gary Rand; Sid’s brother Irving Levin of Minneapolis, and by nine grandchildren. Services were held Jan. 19 at the Hebrew Educational Alliance, followed by interment at Emanuel Cemetery at Fairmount.
Army Pvt. George “Joe” Sakato
Submitted by Colorado National Guard Public Affairs
A public memorial service was held for a local Medal of Honor recipient on Jan. 16 in Aurora. Army Pvt. George “Joe” Sakato was the last known Medal of Honor recipient from World War II living in Colorado.
He died Dec. 2, 2015, in Denver. He was 94.
Sakato was buried next to his wife Bessie, with full military honors.
According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, though originally recommended for the Medal of Honor for his actions in France, Sakato was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross. However, a Pentagon review of World War II military awards in the 1990s led to the upgrade.
He was presented his Medal of Honor by President William J. Clinton at a White House ceremony on June 21, 2000.
“Joe was a great American who refused to allow prejudice to prevent him from defending our country – whatever it cost him,” said Adj. Gen. of Colorado Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards.
Sakato joined the Army in 1944 and volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was made up mostly of Japanese-Americans.
Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, thousands of Japanese people already in the U.S., citizens and foreigners alike, were forced to move to internment camps out of fear of their allegiance. However, history has determined they weren’t security risks.
“In order to prove our loyalty, I volunteered into the service,” Sakato told PBS in 2003.
“We were fighting prejudice in the States … and fighting the Germans in Europe,” he told 9NEWS in 2013.
According to his Medal of Honor citation, Sakato distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on Oct. 29, 1944, on Hill 617 in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France.
After his platoon had virtually destroyed two enemy defense lines, during which he personally killed five enemy soldiers and captured four, his unit was pinned down by heavy enemy fire. Disregarding the danger, Sakato made a one-man rush that encouraged his platoon to charge and destroy the enemy strongpoint.
While his platoon was reorganizing, he proved to be the inspiration of his squad in halting a counter-attack on the left flank, during which his squad leader was killed. Taking charge of the squad, he continued his relentless tactics, using an enemy rifle and P-38 pistol to stop an organized enemy attack.
During this entire action, he killed 12 and wounded two, personally captured four and assisted his platoon in taking 34 prisoners.
By continuously ignoring enemy fire, and by his gallant courage and fighting spirit, he turned impending defeat into victory and helped his platoon complete its mission.
“When we came back … President Truman said, ‘You’ve fought the Germans and you’ve fought prejudice, and you won,’” Sakato told 9NEWS in 2013. “And that was good.”
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team remains one of the most decorated units for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare.
Sakato is survived by his daughter Leslie and two brothers.
In addition to Sakato, at least four other Medal of Honor recipients are interred at Fairmount Cemetery.
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