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Al Koppel and Leo Goto
By Robert Sweeney
Two former Villagers were laid to rest recently, Al Koppel and Leo Goto. They were both long time friends of many area residents.
Al Koppel served in the Freda Poundstone era of dynamic growth for Greenwood Village. He was always a voice for common sense and good local government.
One of his projects was a planned Greenwood people-to-people exchange. We were to go to Israel and spend some time living in a rural village; likewise some of those folks would come to Greenwood Village.
It didn’t happen because of military conflicts in the area and the events were canceled. It would have been a great educational experience but didn’t come to fruition, no fault of Koppel, the guiding force in the sister-city program.
Leo Goto stood by the door at his Wellshire Inn and greeted and seated hundreds of his friends for several decades at his famed restaurant leased from the City and County of Denver.
He left the Wellshire Inn in 2008 with his lovely wife Linda and enjoyed a short period away from the restaurant business, but it was in his genes. Leo missed the culinary business and had a short stint with a new restaurant in Littleton that ended poorly for he and his family.
Visiting with Leo often at social events, he was always warm and gracious, that great smile and courteous demeanor. He and Linda were a significant force in the Denver social scene. Leo was a leader in the growth and development of The University of Denver where he proudly served as a Dan Ritchie Trustee for many years receiving their highest honor, the Evans Award in 1995.
The will both be missed by many friends and family members and remembered for giving back to their communities.
Al Koppel died in Fort Collins on Jan. 27. He was born on Sept. 13, 1926, in Hamburg, Germany.
Al was a former Greenwood Village City Councilman from November 1987 to November 1991, serving under Mayor Freda Poundstone from 1987-1989 and under Mayor Rollin Barnard from 1989 to 1991. He organized a sister-city program with Greenwood Village and a city in Israel. He worked on an exchange visit but it never materialized. He lived many years in Greenwood Village and moved to Fort Collins in 1993.
Al was a child of the Holocaust. In June 1941 at age 14, he and his brother, Walter, 13, escaped Nazi Germany. They were two of the last Jews who were able to do so. They traveled to Brooklyn, N.Y., to reunite with their father who, after having been in a concentration camp, had been driven out of Germany the year before.
The day after his arrival, Al was hospitalized. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and sent alone to the National Jewish Hospital in Denver. He would spend the next three years there. He was cured of his illness, learned English, completed high school, and won a scholarship to the University of Colorado Boulder.
In that same year, his mother, two brothers and two sisters were murdered by the Nazis. He did not talk about this for more than 50 years.
Al met Jean Herbert while in college. They married and had five children, Karla, Morgan, Katie, Craig and Mitchell. Jean died on May 7, 1997. He is survived by his children Karla, Craig and Mitchell, seven grandchildren, one step grandchild, and two great grandchildren.
Al spent his professional career with Samsonite Corporation traveling the world. He set out to discover what exactly had happened to his mother and siblings. His journey took him on successive trips to Germany and, finally, to Lithuania. He stood there, at a desolate place called the Ninth Fort, looking in the ravine where his murdered family, grasping each other, had fallen.
Al published his book, My Heroic Mother: Voices From the Holocaust in 2010. He brought honor to them through his writings.
A memorial service was held at Congregation Har Shalom in Fort Collins on March 3. Donations may be made to National Jewish Hospital, Denver, CO, or the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., in Al’s memory.
Madison (Madi) Sadye Flink
Madison Sadye Flink,
Sept. 1, 1995 – Feb. 18, 2013
Madison (Madi) Sadye Flink, 17, was born Sept. 1, 1995, to Marc D. and Margaret H. (Hamlin) Flink, of Littleton. Madi attended Walt Whitman Elementary School, Goddard Middle School and Heritage High School where Madi was in her senior year. Madi had been accepted at the University of Northern Colorado where she would have been a freshman this fall. Over the years, Madi played soccer for Littleton United, REAL, Colorado United and the Heritage freshman team and JV.
Madi loved her family, her friends, soccer, snowboarding at Mary Jane (No Pain No Jane), going to the condo in Fraser, the outdoors, camo gear, pickup trucks and country music. She was a bird hunter, a trap shooter, a snowboarder, a fearless soccer player and a great teammate. Madi will be remembered for her smile, her sense of humor and her always being there for her friends.
Madi is survived by her mother Margaret and father Marc, sister Hannah, brother Philip and paternal grandparents Alan and Renee Flink of Providence, Rhode Island.
Contributions in Madi’s memory can be made to Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, 155 Inverness Drive #200, Englewood, CO 80112, 303-730-8858 and Friends of Horse Rescue Adoption And Youth Program, 6351 S. Peoria Street, Englewood, CO 80112, 720-252-5387.
Helen Louise Nussbaum,
1932 – 2013
Helen Louise Nussbaum, 81, of Aurora, died Feb. 18. She was born in Chicago Heights, Ill., on Jan. 5, 1932, to John and Lottie (Zeman) Blackford. Helen is survived by her husband of 48 years, Jim; children Karen (Fred Green) Blackford; Lauren Salzwedel, Mark Nussbaum and Paula (Kenneth) Gendill; 8 grandchildren.
A viewing took place on Feb. 25 from at Horan & McConaty Family Chapel, 11150 E. Dartmouth Ave in Aurora. Family received friends beginning at 5:30 in the evening at Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Church, 18000 E. Arapahoe Rd., Foxfield with a Vigil Service and Rosary following.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, Feb. 26 also at the church. Burial following a reception took place at St. Simeon Catholic Cemetery, Aurora.
Memorial donations are suggested to Our Lady of Loreto Catholic Church for the Helen Nussbaum Memorial Fund, 18000 E. Arapahoe Rd., Foxfield, CO 80016.
You can go to www.horancares.com to leave a message for the family.
Bill Collister, March 3, 1923 – Feb. 11, 2013
William Buchtel Collister died Feb. 11 in Denver. Bill was born March 3, 1923, in Colorado Springs, the son of Eva V. and Thomas C. Collister. His father, who came to Colorado from the Isle of Man, was a circuit riding Methodist minister in the rough gold and silver mining towns of the mountains.
Bill graduated first in his class from Roosevelt High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He took special radar courses at Reed College and served as an Electronics Officer in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the School of Political and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1948, his Law Degree from the University of Denver College of Law in 1951, and was admitted to the Colorado Bar in 1951.
Bill, 89, was not only an expert attorney, but also a good friend to many clients in the oil and gas business. He was a scholar who owned a library of hundreds of books, all of which he had read. He inspired dozens of young law clerks to serve their clients and the community. He assisted countless numbers of people with personal problems, often with no recognition.
As a steadfast friend of the University of Denver, Bill received the Evans Award, the highest honor DU’s Alumni Association bestows recognizing professional achievement and humanitarian service in 1994. In 1991 he introduced Alta Merle Ricks, a longtime client, to the University Center for Gifted Young Children. She became a lead benefactress, supporting the construction of the Ricks Center for Gifted Children building, and Bill continued as a board member, serving for over two decades. In 2006 the Ricks Center established the William Buchtel Collister Alumni Achievement Award to recognize his invaluable contributions to both the school and the University.
After completing his law degree, he worked as a Landman, in Montana, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota, researching titles and negotiating oil and gas leases.
He married Alice Anderson on Dec. 22, 1961.
He worked as an oil and gas attorney in Denver for more than 50 years, earning great respect in the energy industry. He served as president of the Denver Petroleum Club.
Bill and Alice traveled the world, visiting more than 50 countries, and all of the continents except Antarctica.
He is survived by his wife, Alice Collister; honorary daughter Karen Voll; honorary granddaughters, Ingrid Crowl and Kirstin McMullen; and honorary great granddaughters, Megan Crowl, Molly Crowl, Kennen McMullen and Peri McMullen; his brothers Larry Collister and Emmitt Collister; his sister, Ruth Jones; nephews, Allan Collister, Tim Collister, John L. Collister, Ric Jones, Tom Jones, Rob Jones, Bill Jones, Dukes Collister, Tom Collister and John P. Collister; nieces Jadis Norman, Carol George, and Leah Lazzari, and Alice’s many devoted nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Ricks Center for Gifted Children Endowment at the University of Denver, or the Denver Botanical Gardens, in Bill’s name.
The family would like to express their sincere appreciation and thanks to his devoted caregiver, Anna Daniel for her loving care for Bill over the last years of his life.
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