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Jill Friedman Fixler
Denver nonprofit leader Jill Friedman Fixler, who directed program development for many nonprofit organizations and who launched volunteer programs for the Downtown Aquarium, National Jewish Health and other organizations, died Nov. 29 at her home in Arapahoe County. Fixler, founder and president of JFFixler Group, had fought a long battle with myelofibrosis, according to family members.
“She was an engaging personality and an excellent consultant who continually helped all of us to be the best we can be,” said Rabbi Bruce Dollin, past president of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council.
Fixler and her team, he added, provided executive and organizational training to rabbis newly arrived to the Rocky Mountain region.
Trained at Lake Forest College and the University of Colorado Boulder, Fixler launched a volunteer program for the Denver Dumb Friends League in the 1980s and provided similar launches for other organizations, eventually carrying her expertise to national and international consulting by way of the company she founded in 2002. She authored two books on volunteer engagement.
Fixler, 61, is survived by her husband Peter Fixler, whom she met early in college and whom had described as “the love of her life;” by her son Joshua Ron Solomon Fixler, now in rabbinic training, and his wife Annie; by her mother Audrey Friedman Marcus; and by her sister Rabbi Dayle Friedman and brother Glen Friedman and their families. Fixler had been diagnosed with the leukemia-related illness in 1997, but fought valiantly for more than a decade, giving up her professional work only in 2013. According to family, she described the battle as having been a “life gift” that allowed her to focus her attentions on her family and friends.
Services for Jill Friedman Fixler were held at Temple Emanuel in Denver. Contributions in Fixler’s honor may be made to Maurice B. Shwayder Camp and to the Colorado AIDS Project.
By Bob Sweeney, a friend
Great artists tend to die young. Larry Fanning was a great artist; his works are prized possessions in many homes, states and countries. His exquisite detail of wildlife made him an exceptionally talented artist.
Larry never sought attention and was usually in the back of the room while his donated work was auctioned off for his favorite charity. Cancer League of Colorado was the major recipient of his masterpieces.
He died unexpectedly last week leaving his faithful wife Wanda behind. We can celebrate his life’s great accomplishments, and the tragedy of his work left undone.
Larry didn’t start painting professionally until the age of 50. He spent 27 years as a minister. He hosted a very successful radio talk show On The Line With Larry that ranged upwards to one million listeners in California.
Moving to Denver in 1988, he met his lovely attorney wife Wanda at a Western dance class. The couple married Oct. 16, 1993, and lived in the mountains west of Denver until a recent move to a new studio near Golden.
Larry’s trademark was a black Western cowboy hat that he wore to many social gatherings; he and Wanda chaired 12 charitable events raising millions of dollars for their favorite nonprofit organization. Along with their leadership, they donated dozens of his works to organizations, the latest to the 2014 Cancer League of Colorado Ball called, “The Pick of The Litter” purchased by Mort and Edie Marks.
Paintings were donated to the Marvin Davis Carousel Ball in Beverly Hills; he did works of Gerald Ford and John Wayne. One of his largest paintings resides at the Rocky Mountain Eye Institute (CU Eye Center) lobby at the Anschutz Medical Campus. It was commissioned by the Kenneth King Foundation for the Lions of Colorado and Wyoming building when the current Eye Institute was opened by Dr. Bronwyn Bateman in 2000.
He won major local, state and national honors for his works. “Winter’s Retreat,” a painting of Canadian geese, was a national award winner. Edie Marks said Larry understood the animals and could look into their eyes and inner souls when he painted them.
His natural outdoor backgrounds and beautiful animal works were featured in a show at the Wildlife Experience described by Villager social editor Glory Weisberg when she said, “Throngs of serious art buyers converged on the first floor gallery, sipping wine and becoming totally entranced by the wolves, bighorn sheep, lions, jaguars, mule deer, elk, moose, elephants. Navajo Indians and a stunning Courting Swans painting featuring warm pinks, subtle shades of pearl amid a quiet landscape that for many patrons, was the hit of the show.”
Surprisingly, according to Wanda, her husband Larry was colorblind and had to be careful when driving amidst traffic lights.
But drive he did to the top of his profession with works like Rainforest Serenity, Colorado Moose, Buffalo In The Snow – his largest work – and a giant black maimed lion hanging at the entrance to the national REMAX office, and the home of John Elway, a collector.
A few works remain, several in the Knox Gallery in Vail and the Leaning Tree Museum in Boulder and a collection of numbered prints in the Golden Gallery. Much of his outdoor art went to Canadian collectors who recognized the masterpieces painted by Larry Fanning.
His death was unexpected. Larry had experienced some severe back pain in recent weeks sending him to a doctor’s office for pain medications. His condition worsened and he was rushed to Lutheran Hospital where he died on Nov. 28. His world of art partner and widow Wanda asks that any donations be made to Cancer League of Colorado Memorial Fund in his name: Cancer League of Colorado, P.O. Box 5373, Englewood, CO 80155-5373.
History shows that great artists die, but their works will live forever.
Larry Fanning stands beside the artwork he donated to Cancer League of Colorado’s Hope Ball, May 10.File photo by Glory Weisberg
By Glory Weisberg
Artist Larry Fanning died on Nov. 28.
Larry was a widely respected Western and wildlife artist whose paintings line the walls of the homes of his many fans in Colorado and far beyond.
Larry was born in Santa Monica, Calif., and attended Kansas State University. Widely known as a self-taught artist, saying at various times that he was born with the talent, he was also known as a minister.
His artwork was published by Mill Pond Press and his work has been featured in The Wildlife Experience in Parker for months at a time. He was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Denver where his wife Wanda and he were married in an elegant ceremony attended by many friends who gave the couple a rousing sendoff, leaving in a horse drawn carriage. Many locals still recall every detail of that day with fond memories, now with sadness in their hearts and sympathy for the love of his wife, Wanda.
Fascination St. Fine Art in Cherry Creek North is Fanning’s primary place the world got his art in the past four years.
Store owner Aaron LaPedis, noted, “It was a very good friendship. I have a lot of his pieces in inventory and he was always giving a lot to charities. He always wanted to help others. I would call him one of the foremost wildlife artists out there, amazing.”
LaPedis said that just by looking at a painting, the details, you could tell the way Larry felt.
From the Fascination St. Fine Art site, Fanning is quoted as saying, “The iconic part of Western art is very much at the heart of being an American, even though America is resented in many parts of the world. I find the philosophical essence of the old West is very much alive today, in this modern world, and I encounter wisdom and inspiration in being around everyday Western people. I learn from this, and hopefully, it shows in my paintings.”
Being a Western artist, Larry and Wanda were seen at the VOA Western Fantasy benefits.
It was Larry’s wish that no memorial service be held.
Harold H. “Puck” Lee
Harold H. “Puck” Lee, 86, of Centennial was born Feb. 23, 1928, and died Oct. 12, 2014. Puck was preceded in death by his parents, Harold R. and Louise Vawter Lee.
Lee was founder and president of Accu-Tube Corporation. He was a graduate of East High School in 1945, University of Colorado class of 1950, and received his MBA from Case Western Reserve University. He was a Staff Sgt. in the US Air Force 1950-53. Puck was a member of Sigma Chi, Pinehurst Country Club, WETAR Investment Club and an Eagle Scout. He enjoyed tennis, golf, traveling, skiing and fishing.
He is survived by son, John E. Lee of Englewood; daughter, Carol L. (Dan) Dampier of Greenwood Village and their children, Danielle and Michelle; brothers, Peter C. Lee of Sun City West, Ariz., and David V. (Janis) Lee of Tremont, Ill.; second wife, Suzanne C. Lee of Greenwood Village; stepson, Scott A. (Maureen) Hagan of Lone Tree and their children Heather, Carly and Natalie; stepson, Clark J. (Melinda) Hagan of Parker and their daughters, Isabelle and Ava; first wife, Janet Lee of Denver; numerous nieces and nephews; and his beloved pets, Ginger and Pongo.
Services were Oct. 19 at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Cherry Hills Village. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Denver Dumb Friends League, 2080 S. Quebec, Denver, CO 80231.
Bertha Elizabeth Haugen
Bertha Elizabeth Haugen (1922 – 2014 ), died peacefully Sept. 30.
Born in Page, N.D., to Martin and Sarah Bjorke, she is survived by her daughters Lee (Donald) Long of Greenwood, S.C., Kari (Steven) Epstein of Denver, sister Berniece Swang of Bismarck, N.D., grandchildren Brita Long (Daniel Fleck), Harold and Jeremy Long, and Anya and Daniel Epstein. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Lizabeth Haugen, brother, Martin Bjorke, and beloved ex-husband, Harold Haugen.
Bertha graduated from Minot State Teacher’s College and the University of North Dakota. She was the recipient of the Central City Opera Guild’s Bell Award, and the Denver Chamber Orchestra’s Volunteer of the Year. She served on several committees and boards, including the American Heart Association Colorado Chapter Hearts for Life Guild, Kempe Center Alliance, Denver Center Alliance, Denver Ballet Guild, Fine Arts Foundation, Children’s Diabetes Foundation, “Women Aglow” founder, board of Faculty Wives of Physicians at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and the University of Denver Women’s Library Association, among others.
Bertha was a consummate pianist and entertainer, a diehard Broncos fan, avid gardener, woman of extraordinary faith, and a lover of music and parties. She also loved hiking and driving in the mountains until her health prevented her from doing so, and going down the tall slide at the Eldorado Springs swimming pool.
A memorial service will be held at another time.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kempe Center Alliance, VOA Meals on Wheels, Colorado Chamber Orchestra, Agape Hospice, Central City Opera Guild, or The Fine Arts Foundation.
Submitted by Colleen Smith
Marjorie Putt Madden
Marjorie Putt Madden died Oct. 7 and in her memory Samson Park — the sculpture garden adjacent to Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village — will be renamed Marjorie Park.
Marjorie is lovingly remembered as a wise and devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, as well as an artist with a twinkling eye for beauty and an affinity with nature.
Born May 27, 1930, in Omaha, Neb., she attended the University of Nebraska from 1948 to 1950. She married John W. Madden, Jr. in 1950. She was the mother of Cynthia Madden Leitner (Roger Leitner), Scott Madden, and J. Madden (Linda Poletti).
A homemaker, oil-painter, community volunteer and philanthropist, Marjorie also was a businesswoman. She served as a trustee on the board of directors of the John Madden Company Ltd, a real estate development firm. From 1978 –1985, she headed Madden Specialties, creating commercial office design with imported Italian fabrics, marble, art, fixtures and tiles. Together with her husband, she acquired a private collection of fine art and decorative arts now exhibited as the Madden Collection at the Madden Museum of. Marjorie also served on the board of directors as a founder of the Museum of Outdoor Arts, which recently celebrated a 30th anniversary and exhibits its collection in Greenwood Village, Englewood and elsewhere, including the White House Rose Garden.
Marjorie is survived by several generations who called her, affectionately, “Marmie.” Her grandchildren are Cynthia’s adult children — John Schuyler Madden (Sky), Marjorie Blair Madden Bui (Blair) and Paul Leitner — and J.’s twins — Joseph and Grace Madden. Her great-grandchildren are Sky’s sons — Schuyler Madden, Gabriel Cagle and Walter Madden — and Blair’s daughters —Cynthia Lily Brown and Willow Bui.
The family treasures memories of their matriarch as a gentle soul known for her kindness and optimism. Her friendship and conversation were sought out. She painted in oils, both portraits and landscapes; and she was involved in the art world since her youth. Throughout her adult life, she directed the interior decoration of buildings constructed by her husband’s development firm.
She was an avid bird watcher and shell collector, especially during her time at the family’s pink house at the water’s edge on Sanibel Island, Fla. She enjoyed observing osprey, pelicans, ibis, herons and egrets, as well as dolphins. Her bird watching led her to become involved in the Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve. She was a member of the Junior League and Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority.
Marmie also was passionate about cooking, playing cards and arranging flowers. She always kept a jigsaw puzzle in the works. She loved decorating her home, especially at Christmastime.
“Her legacy resides in her family, all of whom attribute to her the reinforcement of values and relationships through her kind words and gracious actions. She impressed upon us her aesthetic, her sense of beauty,” said Cynthia Madden Leitner. “She will be sorely missed by all who met her and survive her.”
Martha ‘Jane’ Wren – 1925 – 2014
Martha “Jane” Wren
Jane Wren, 89, of Denver died on Sept. 20. Martha Jane “Janie” Edwards Wren was born in Cave Springs, Arkansas on July 21, 1925 unto Fitzhugh Lee and Myrtle “Myrna” (Glass) Edwards.
Jane grew up in Amarillo, Texas, graduating from Amarillo High in 1943. She participated in various school activities including cheerleading and she was crowned “Queen of Amarillo High” in 1943 and later voted Most Popular. It was while in high school she met her sweetheart John (J.E.) Edgar Wren. They were married on March 16, 1944, in the parsonage of First Baptist Church in Amarillo.
They moved to Loveland in 1949 to start J.E.’s new business, Western Merchants Wholesale Co. Then in 1950 they moved their home and business to Denver. They were blessed with three sons, John Scott, Randy Mack and Jay Robin. J.E. died on Nov. 15, 1979.
Jane was a homemaker who loved caring for her husband, their children and their home. She was a wonderful cook and while she enjoyed bowling, bridge and various games, her true love was golf. She was a longstanding member of the Ladies Golf Association at Pinehurst Country Club and the El Jebel Shriners Sand Blasters Golf Club. Jane especially loved to travel to various places but her favorite was Hawaii. She was affectionately called “Tutu” by her grandchildren, which means Grandmother in Hawaiian. Jane was a member of Wellshire Presbyterian Church.
Jane was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, a daughter in law, Mary Colleen Kenefick Wren, two grandchildren Jason Christopher Wren and Victoria Jane Wren, a brother Scott M. Edwards, Sr., her stepfather Mack D. Quarles and her close personal and family friend Ernie Snell.
Survivors include her sons, John Scott, Randy Mack and Jay Robin Wren all of Denver, her grandchildren, Regan Jane Wren Hall and her husband Tim of Denver, Brooke Elizabeth Wren Sisan and her husband Ned of Houston, John Thomas Wren, Allie Eliza Wren and Kathleen Jean “Katie” Wren Petock and her husband William, all of Denver, her great grandchildren, Joshua and Monica Hall of Denver and Tyler and Jeffrey Sisan of Houston, Texas, six nieces Sue Soltis of New Braunfels, Texas, Karla Kay Mullins, Joan Carder, Ginger Rowell and June Miller all of Amarillo, Texas, Betty Brashor of Carrollton, Texas, two nephews Scott M. Edwards, Jr. of Amarillo, Texas, Jack Barnwall of Las Vegas, one great nephew David McCune and a great niece Kim McCune Jackson, one great-great nephew Dawson, two great-great- nieces Jennifer and Maddie , one great- great-great nephew A.J. and a great-great-great niece Sadie.
A memorial service, “Tutu’s Aloha” was held on Sept. 29 in the Chapel of Wellshire Presbyterian Church. A private family burial was at Crown Hill Cemetery. The family suggests memorial contributions to The American Cancer Society, Porter Hospice Al-Anon.
By Glory Weisberg
Ginger Underwood, a devoted supporter of the Denver Ballet Guild, was killed in an accident on I-70 on Aug. 12, driving to the mountains to see her daughter.
As fellow Guild supporter and Guild President Pam Gatz said, “Ginger was a presence, caring and willing to help others any time. She was also the history of the DBG and she kept us on track. It’s going to be hard to think of the Denver Ballet Guild without her.”
Just about every major Denver Ballet Guild function included Ginger, always facing crowds with a glorious smile and entertaining personality that was obvious merely by viewing photos of her. She chaired the 2010 Le Bal de Ballet Debutante Ball, served on the 2011 Madams & Martinis event committee, and worked on many other activities.
The late colorfully elegant woman was recognized by Cambridge’s Who’s Who for “demonstrating dedication, leadership and excellence in community service.”
Underwood had a master’s degree in English literature and in 2007 she co-authored A Little Travel Guide for High Maintenance Women, a paperback book that is humorous, entertaining and thoroughly readable, available on Amazon, and it makes a great gift.
Underwood, age 67, was from Liberal, Kan., and is survived by her husband, Dr. Larry Underwood, daughter Stacey (Christopher) Holzer, son Eric (Cristen) Underwood, her parents Ray and Virginia Hall, sister Sherryl (Charles) Peterson, brother James (Alice) Hall and grandchildren, Alexander Underwood and Zoe Holzer.
A celebration of life is being planned with a yet uncertain date.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Ginger’s name may be made to the Denver Ballet Guild, P.O. Box 2656, Littleton, CO 800161-2656 or the American Heart Association, 1777 S. Harrison St., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80210.
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