REMEMBERING JOHN PARR/SANDY WIDENER
On the occasion of returning to Denver last week (September 4, 2018) to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the recruitment of Major League Baseball and the Colorado Rockies to Denver — I couldn’t help but think of our dear lost friend, John Parr, as well as his late spouse and daughter, Sandy Widener and Chase Parr.
Denver and the world lost John, Sandy and Chase in a tragic auto accident in December 2007.
Both John and Sandy helped make Denver the vibrant place which it is today — John as a public policy leader and Sandy as an outstanding journalist.
Back when I was making my decision whether to accept a job offer in 1980 to become the founding CEO of The Downtown Denver Partnership, a then-Carter Administration colleague suggested that I seek John’s counsel.
Not only did he excite me about Denver’s future, but two years after I began became CEO at the Partnership, John took me to dinner to meet with a bright young Colorado State Senator named Federico Peña, who was considering running for Mayor against a 4-term incumbent (his intended campaign theme: “Imagine a Great City”).
During my 14 years in Denver, at The Partnership and later heading the Greater Denver Chamber of Commerce — I had the honor and pleasure of working closely both with John and with Federico.
John and Sandy were nearby Cheesman Park neighbors, good friends, and civic colleagues.
On returning to Denver this past week at the invitation of Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort — as I toured around the Denver of 2018 to Downtown, Coors Field, LoDo, the RiNo District, Cherry Creek, DIA (and its new train to Denver Union Station), the mixed use redeveloped Central Platte Valley former Railyards, riding on RTD light rail — I couldn’t help but think of John Parr and Sandy Widener.
RIP to John, Sandy and Chase.