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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