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Chuck and Kathy Brantigan with Judy and Jack Fredericksen in 2004. Denver Brass will perform To Jack with Love, Feb. 14.
The scene was Mercury Café on June 9, 2014. Hundreds of people filled the dance hall to pay their respects to Jack Fredericksen, one of Denver’s most celebrated and loved musicians, who passed away on May 24, 2014. These were very special people – including his loving wife Judy and children Kim, Karen, Julie, Jill and Kevin – all filling the room with love, music, laughter and stories. Generations of professional musicians, former students, fellow educators and fun loving friends – many who had not seen each other for years and sometimes decades – were summoned by their respect for Jack, his charisma and friendship.
The evening’s music, performed by three of his favorite past times: The Denver Brass, Hot Tomatoes and Kantorei (Denver’s chamber choir), provided a panorama of sounds to lift the spirits of all who came to celebrate the amazing life of Jack Fredericksen.
This man was loved and revered by so many for so long that this evening became an evening of To Jack, with Love. This theme became the title of the upcoming Denver Brass concert on Feb. 15. The concert will be another opportunity for all of Denver to celebrate this wonderful man with an evening of Denver Brass and Hot Tomatoes performing together on many of Jack’s toe-tapping favorites.
Jack was a music educator in the Denver Public Schools for 34 years. His legacy as an educator is unparalleled. He affected and inspired thousands of lives, many of whom are music educators and professional musicians today. His composition and arranging skills were extraordinary and his musical ears, as musicians say, were “so keen, he could hear grass grow.”
Jack graced many stages throughout his career as a performer on saxophone, clarinet and flute. He always looked forward to playing in his beloved, Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra.
As devoted as he was to his music, however, nothing compared to his love and devotion to his wife,
Judy. The two were inseparable and, as Judy puts it, “we are truly soul mates.” They did everything together from the mundane grocery shopping to travel to their labor of love for the Hot Tomatoes. Judy managed the dance orchestra and Jack played, composed and arranged for it. So you might say that this concert is also, “For Judy, with Love.”
The collaboration between The Denver Brass and Hot Tomatoes started in 1994 when the founder of the Denver Brass, Kathy Brantigan, wanted to do a New Orleans style concert. During a brainstorming session, the idea came up that the best way to portray New Orleans musically would be for the Denver Brass to branch out and collaborate with a more authentic jazz group. The collaboration with Hot Tomatoes became the first of many that the Denver Brass would pursue, with all varieties of groups, in the future.
After the first year, there were many more collaborations between Hot Tomatoes and Denver Brass. Jack would write dozens more arrangements both for the combined groups and for Denver Brass alone. By 2004, Jack and Judy were The Denver Brass’s greatest groupies and Jack was the Denver Brass’ most prolific arranger of jazz favorites. Because of their tremendous support and contributions to the success of The Denver Brass, they were inducted into the Denver Brass Hall of Fame as the second members following only conductor, Kenneth Singleton.
So put on your dancing shoes and dance, don’t walk, to this tribute to one of Denver’s most talented and beloved musicians. This one’s for you, Jack.
By Glory Weisberg
Dr. Max Bartlett died Jan. 9 after a long illness.
Longtime friend Gretchen Pope said, “What a wonderful friend we lost, who always shared his humor with a little joke or two with us. He was special and we were blessed to have known him. We will miss his humor.”
That humor is infectious. For starters, call the house when no one was home and the caller would hear a recorded message from Max, using a British accent. No matter the reason for calling, the message makes you laugh and Max was always a raconteur, ready to hold forth like royalty at a medieval European court. If you had a choice of where to sit at a function and there were seats next to Dianne and Max, you would dive to claim it quickly.
Another example of Max’s humor is an all-caps bio he wrote himself, no date. It begins with, “I was born at a very early age.” The rest of the article has a similar tone to it and gives an upbeat, detailed account of his private and professional life.
Max was retired from the practice of medicine as an ob/gyn.
Max was born in Colorado Springs and graduated from The Colorado College and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta and a supporter of Cancer League of Colorado, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Zoo, Denver Art Museum, Food Bank of the Rockies and Children’s Diabetes Foundation.
Dr. Max, as we called him, is survived by his wife, Dianne, sons John (Zelda), Robert (Marcy) and Jim (Teri) and daughter, Karen Pridemore (Darrell), as well as the Brett (Cindy) Freilinger six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
No funeral is planned, but a Celebration of Life is set for Jan. 31 at Citron Bistro Restaurant, 3535 South Yosemite St. at 11 a.m.
The family suggests in lieu of flowers, donations should go to one’s own charity of choice.
Marion Downs died Nov. 13 at the age of 100 with her family by her side. Marion influenced countless numbers of professionals and consumers through her teaching, research, and clinical work on hearing loss.
Dr. Downs created the first national infant hearing-screening program in 1963 in Denver, and fostered the effort to identify and manage hearing loss in infants and children. Downs was also recognized internationally for her work in pediatric audiology. Her professional publications and lectures brought worldwide attention to the importance of early intervention for hearing loss. Today in the U.S., more than 96 percent of all infants receive a newborn hearing screening.
The Marion Downs Center, which opened in 2005 at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, provides services for people with barriers to communication locally and internationally.
LaFawn Biddle said, “Marion Downs was a shining light for families needing help in the field of hearing loss/deafness. In addition to her professional expertise, she shared warmth and empathy with parents and children who were dealing with auditory limitations. Her work changed the quality of life for many families.”
Downs was born in 1914 in New Ulm, Minn., and grew up there, married George Downs, Ph.D., after her junior year of college, and the couple had three children.
Downs attended the University of Minnesota but finished her degree at the University of Colorado. She got her master’s degree from The University of Denver in 1951 and taught there until 1959, when she went to work at the University of Colorado Medical School, and with Doreen Pollack, opened a hearing clinic there.
In 2006 she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.
The Marion Downs Foundation had a Celebration of Dr. Downs’ Life, Jan. 9, at the Pinnacle Club at the Grand Hyatt Denver.
The above information is from the Marion Down Center and sources such as the Wikipedia.
In lieu of flowers, her family requests donations to the Marion Downs Foundation via website at www.mariondowns.com, mail at 4280 Hale Parkway, Denver, CO 80220, or call at 303-322-1871.
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
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.
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