Family of Rotary

Good News from Club Board Director Alison Oyler-Mitsch…

As you know, Alison has had more than her share of travails over the last two years. She successfully started her new company pre-Covid but then the storm winds came: a severe decline in business with Covid, a breast cancer diagnosis, an older woman hitting the gas unintentionally and smashing into her business, and her exhaustion from radiation therapy.

Alison submitted her resignation under the crush and financial duress. When her resignation came before the Board, the response was immediate. The Board offered to pay her dues using our Angel Fund if that would affect her resignation. It did, and she withdrew her resignation with gratitude for the dues relief and the large outpouring of affection from the club.

A reminder to everyone: Our Angel Fund is designed to help members when they are under financial duress by paying their membership dues..

And the news is getting better! Here are her words today:

Good News! First of all I want to thank everyone for your support, kind wishes and caring during the past few months! They have been some of the hardest months of my life but coming into the studio and just getting all of the support made it some of the best few months of my life! I am truly blessed to have so many friends around me! Thank You!

I am done with my radiation treatments! I have some more healing to do but I am through the toughest part! This past week I got to “Ring the Bell” (it was actually a gong) but it was such a great feeling!

It had just been 13 months since my last mammogram when they found the 13 mm invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer, so I ask you to keep up on your yearly screenings! I know a lot of you have made your appointment since hearing my news and it makes me so happy! Early detection is key!

Now a plug to Club 31 members for Alison’s business: Please join Alison and her team for a special St. Patrick’s Day event dancing to a fusion of Zumba, Nia & world dance set to Celtic & River Dance music on Thursday, March 16 from 4:15 – 5:15 pm. Open to all ages and abilities. Come Shake your Shamrocks! Plus enjoy a Free Healthy Green Smoothie afterwards! Don’t forget to wear green! Here is a link to register for the class:

Alison Oyler-Mitsch, Owner
Refresh Studios, 950 Jersey St, Denver, CO 80220-4596

Memorial Resolution

John C. Stewart
January 6, 1947 – September 18, 2021
Denver Rotary Club 31 Member – 22 years
“Law – Probate”

Compiled and read by Steve Mast, May 19, 2022

Good afternoon family members of John Stewart, fellow Rotarians and guests.  We pause today to present this Memorial Resolution in memory and celebration of the life of our good friend and fellow Rotarian, John Stewart.

Let me first recognize the family members of John’s who have joined us today: John’s wife, Carol and his daughter, Emilie and his cousin Rick Hughes.  Thank you all for being here today.  It is very heartwarming that Emilie is being introduced today as a new member of John’s Rotary Club!  I know that John is watching and is very proud of you Emilie!

A native of Lincoln, Illinois, John received his Bachelor’s Degree in History and his Law Degree from the University of Illinois.  John started his legal career in Chicago, but after only a few years heard Colorado calling and made the move to Denver in the energy boom times of the ‘80’s.  His first job here was with a mining company, where John developed a deep interest in mining history.  As a matter of fact, John was our program speaker in 2011 and his topic was “A History of Mining in Colorado” based on his book “Thomas F. Walsh, Progressive Businessman and Mining Tycoon”.  While still practicing law, John decided to add a Master’s Degree in History from the University of Colorado at Denver.  Are you beginning to see John’s love for history?

When not engaged in either the law or writing, John spent as much time as possible with his wife Carol and their daughter Emilie and volunteering with a variety of organizations including his church, Four Mile House, Iliff Care Center and Boy Scouts.  John met his wife Carol on a bicycle trip with the Colorado Mountain Club.  They were married in 1983 and were joined by Emilie in 1985.  Carol is a native of Fort Collins.

When John joined Denver Rotary in 1999 he was sponsored by Jim Wilkins.  John was previously a Rotarian in Illinois as was his father.  The interests that John listed on his application were typical things like…golfing, skiing and long distance biking and anything to do with history of course.  But he listed one which in the 22 years that I knew John we never talked about…chainsaw woodcarving – bears and other animals!

John attended EVERY Rotary event and supported the Club in anything we did.  He had 14 years of perfect attendance.  John was an advocate of both our foundations as a DRCF Legacy Society Member, DRCF Silver Fellow, a TRF Paul Harris Fellow +2 and a long-time member of The Rotary Foundation Support Committee.  John was recently elected to serve a six year term on the DRCF Board of Trustees.  John saw the good work these two foundations can come together to do, and as such he served for many years and worked on many projects with our World Community Service Committee.  In 2011-12, John was awarded the World Community Service “Greatest Impact Award”.

I had the good fortune of knowing John through his 22 years as a Denver Rotarian.  As any of you who knew John would agree, he was an incredibly nice person…someone who was easy and enjoyable to talk with.  And if you wanted to extend the conversation, all you had to do was ask him anything about Colorado history – and he always had the answer!  John was invaluable to the Rotary office when he spent countless hours culling through Rotary history when we moved the

We will miss you but always remember you John!

This Resolution was accepted by a standing vote of the members of The Rotary Club of Denver and others at the Denver Country Club on May 19, 2022.

Memorial Resolution

Edwin S. Small
October 30, 1919 – January 20, 2022
Denver Rotary Club 31 Member – 48 years
 “Paper – Corrugated Shipping Containers”

Compiled and read by Steve Mast, February 24, 2022

Today we have the opportunity to celebrate the life of one of our friends and fellow Rotarians – Ed Small.

Ed died peacefully on January 20 of this year in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Ed’s son Stephen told me that he got pneumonia symptoms and died three days later…at the age of 102 years and 85 days!  As I told Stephen, where do I sign up – live a rich & active 102 years and peacefully pass away three days after getting sick!

Ed was a true Denver Native.  He graduated from South High School.  Next he graduated from Dartmouth College, then from Tuck School of Business, then went into the Navy.  He rose to the rank of Lt Commander serving in WW II and the Korean war.  Ed commanded a submarine chaser and an oil refueling tanker during the wars.

I knew Ed as a fellow Rotarian for my 40 years of his 48 years as a member of Club 31.  As any of you who knew Ed can relate to, whenever I saw Ed at a meeting I would make sure that I said “hi”.  He had an infectious smile and always had some fun activity to report on.  He was an avid skier and skied until he was 87 years old.  He loved to ride his horse “Rusty”.  He also enjoyed hiking, hunting and golf.  He stopped driving at the age of 99!  I remember one time that I saw him at the Rotary office – when he was pretty close to being 99.  I walked him down to his car and watched as he skillfully maneuvered his car out of the parking lot.  It’s my understanding that he was a pretty good driver up until he gave it up.  But I still found myself looking up to the heavens as he drove off, for a little help getting him home safely!

Many of you may remember on Ed’s 100th birthday, we took a group picture at one of our meetings and signed a card for Ed.  Darlene and Lauren and I took the picture, card and some birthday cake over to Ed.  He could not have been more excited – we spent almost two hours talking with him.  It gave all three of us a rich understanding of what the “Family of Rotary” really means!

Ed enjoyed a successful business career.  He joined the Remington Arms plant after graduating from Tuck.  Following the wars, he worked for the Frink Cramer Creamery, then for the Inland Paper Company and finally retired from Packaging Corporation of America.

Ed was always generous with his time and money.  He was a Denver Rotary Club Foundation Gold Fellow and The Rotary Foundation PHF+4.  He was very active with Denver Kids and was awarded their “Rotarian of the Year” in 2004.  Ed was also involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Denver where he served on their Board and as their Treasurer.

When Ed was introduced as a new Denver Rotary Club member 48 years ago, his Sponsor said, and I quote, “All, I believe, will agree that no matter on what level they had contact with Ed, they have found him to be a great person to know, a person of high integrity and a hard worker in many areas – he is one of the good ones!”, end quote.  I couldn’t agree more – Ed was one of the “Good Guys” and will be missed!

This Resolution was accepted by a standing vote of the members of The Rotary Club of Denver and others at the Warwick on February 24, 2022.

Memorial Resolution

Francisco D. Sabichi
December 14, 1927 – June 28, 2021
Denver Rotary Club 31 Member – 39 years
“Hospitals & Geriatrics”

Compiled and read by Jim Wilkins, October 21, 2021

Fellow Rotarians and guests, we pause today in memory of our friend and fellow Denver Rotarian Francisco David Sabichi, who passed away peacefully on June 28, 2021.  He was 93 – a full life with his physician wife Lynn that was jam packed with a focus on improving health care and living conditions in Nepal.  Here in Colorado, he loved music and the arts, hiking and always working to improve health care.

Francisco was a hospital administrator.  After attending Pomona College and the University of Colorado, he graduated with a BA from Denver University.  He later earned a MBA in Hospital Administration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.  He held Executive positions at Children’s Hospital here in Denver, the Penrose Community Hospital in Colorado Springs, Beth Israel Hospital in Denver and he was President of Health High, Inc. in Denver.  His wife Lynn was an MD and was always working with Francisco on his Rotary projects.  They summited all 54 of our 14,000’ peaks here in Colorado while maintaining an active lifestyle.  Francisco served in the U.S. Navy as a medic in WWII in his early years.

Let me give you some of the highlights of his Rotary history.  Francisco did everything in Rotary with his wife Lynn.  They were energetic and focused Rotarians – Francisco for 39 years and Lynn for 16 years.  They are what you would describe as a “Rotary Power Couple” and a marriage that thrived for 62 years!

They spearheaded and were awarded one of the very first 3H Grants (health, hunger humanity) in The Rotary Foundation’s history for drastic improvement of sanitation and construction of permanent housing for the 200-bed government hospital and its staff in Biratnagar, Nepal.  This $325,000 grant was increased by Denver Rotary’s $25,000 gift and other Rotary Club’s contributions in our District 5450.  This 3H project corrected crowded and unhealthy conditions for the medical staff and their families.  Francisco coordinated the shipping of containers full of used and new medical equipment to the hospital.  A brick two-story building with sanitary water and sewer was built.  The Rotary Club of Biratnagar oversaw the projects and Francisco and Lynn would go over for months at a time volunteering and living in third world conditions.

Here are some of the Rotary awards Francisco and Lynn received: 

  • World Community Services “Continuing Service Award” (2006-07)
  • Denver Kids “Rotarians of the Year” (2002-03)
  • Rotary Club of Denver “Rotarians of the Year” (2001-02)
  • District 5450 Award for “Service Above Self” (1997)
  • District 5450 “Four Way Test Award’ (1995-06)
  • Major Donors of the Rotary Foundation
  • The Rotary Foundation Fellow
  • Denver Rotary Club Foundation Fellow
  • Honorary Members of the Rotary Club of Biratnagar
  • Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Denver (2015)

After Lynn died in 2013, Francisco moved to Clermont Parks Retirement Community here in Denver and became an integral part of that community.  He served on the Spiritual Affairs Committee, the Finance Committee, Scholarships Committee benefiting its dedicated Clermont employees, and attended Willshire Presbyterian Church nearby.  Wherever Francisco went in his life, he made things better.

Francisco is remembered for his positive attitude, a smile and “two thumbs up”.  What a fabulous Rotarian and friend.  We are proud of you Francisco.

This Resolution was accepted by a standing vote of the members of The Rotary Club of Denver and others at the Warwick Hotel on October 21, 2021.

Memorial Resolution

James M. Woodward, m.d.
July 26, 1929—February 18, 2021
Denver Rotary Club 31 Member – 38 years
“Physicians & Surgeons – Ophthalmic Surgery”

Compiled and read by Jim Mack, June 17, 2021

Fellow Rotarians and guests, we pause today in memory of our friend and fellow Rotarian, Dr. James “Jim” Woodward, Jr.

Jim was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on July 26, 1929 to James M. Woodward and Marguerite Louise Woodward.  He passed away on February 18, 2021, at Holly Creek Retirement Community in Centennial.  He attended the University of Nebraska where he was affiliated with the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, then continued his medical training at the University of Iowa, where he specialized in Ophthalmology.  He met his wife, Marion Fetzer, at the University of Iowa.  After graduation, he joined the Air Force as a physician and was stationed at Andrew’s Air Force Base.  In 1962 Jim and Marion with his children, Steven and Carolyn, moved to Denver.  He joined Arthur G. Starr, also a Denver Rotarian, in forming the practice of Starr & Woodward which eventually became the Denver Eye Clinic.

He was known for his gregarious and friendly personality, his love of knowledge, music, and laughing with good friends.  He adored music and dancing, and if the right song came on, any woman could be fair game to be spun around the room.  He was an avid traveler and fancied himself fluent in several languages, well at least enough to order a drink.  He was a president of the Colorado Ophthalmological Association and, after retirement, volunteered at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  He was afflicted the last few years with dementia, but a smile was often found, especially when discussing his childhood, his career, or his beautiful wife.

Jim was a Club 31 member for 38 years.  During this time, he was especially proud of the perfect attendance he held for 29 years until the onset of his dementia prevented him from attending meetings as frequently.  I remember Jim with a unique sense of humor and always eager to chat with his Rotarian friends.  Jim was an avid skier.  I was fortunate to ski with Jim on several Rotary Ski days.  Jim was quite the conversationalist.  I can vouch for this since he would talk all the way down a ski run.  However, when his dementia worsened and he was no longer able to attend meetings, the Board made Jim an honorary Rotarian.

During his earlier years with the Club, Jim would write some of our “Observer’s Reports” for the Keyway, summarizing the key highlights of many worthy programs.  He was a Denver Rotary Club Foundation Silver Fellow and The Rotary International Foundation Paul Harris Fellow +7.  Jim is missed at our meetings, particularly his questions of our speakers or more likely his long comments.

He is survived by his wife, Marion, his children, son Steven (fiancée Claudine Brandt), daughter Carolyn Pope (husband Steve), and former daughter-in-law Deborah Woodward, grandchildren Brandie Dallmann, Susie Bortz, Michael Woodward, Jessica Woodward, Mara Pope and Mitchell Woodward, along with great grandchildren Elizabeth Bortz and Allie Dallmann.  We express deepest sympathy to the Woodward family.

This Resolution was accepted by a standing vote of the members of The Rotary Club of Denver and others via Zoom on June 17, 2021.

Memorial Resolution

Leela H. White
June 15, 1944—March 3—2020
Denver Rotary Club 31 Member – 18 years
“Machine Shops—Sales, Marketing”

Compiled by Carolyn Smith and read by Jim Mack, April 15, 2021

Fellow Rotarians and guests, we have lost a loyal member of the Denver Rotary Club.  We pause today in memory of our friend and fellow Rotarian, Leela Hohmann White.

Lee died after a fall at home on March 3, 2020 with her devoted family gathered around.

Lee was the youngest of four daughters born to Lee and Irene Hohmann in Denver on June 15,1944.  Her father, also Lee, had immigrated from France to become a businessman and restauranteur in Denver.

Lee was a mountain girl.  When she was five, her Dad purchased a cabin on 13 acres in the foothills west of Denver.  So that Lee could get to school and to see her friends, her parents bought her a horse, Prince.  Her parents fostered the independence that characterized her life and created the strong character that we came to know and love.

Lee attended the one room school near her home until Ralston Elementary was completed in 1955.  At aged 10, she rode the three miles to the new school.  Prince was content during the day in the corral built by the school for the horses of many of the young students.  Lee went on to Golden High School and Colorado Women’s College where she studied Business and Business Law.

Lee met Jim White, the man who would become her husband, in the summer of 1959 at a party in the mountains near her home. She was only 14 but, even at that young age, she decided she would be Mrs. Jim White someday.  Sure enough, while still college students, they were married five years later on August 31, 1963.

Jim completed his degree as Engineer at Colorado School of Mines and Lee finished her Associate in Arts Degree at CWC while still newlyweds.  They moved often those first post college years after Jim joined Shell Oil Company and then served as an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers.  Their twin sons, Scott and Eric, were born at Fort Belvoir, Virginia in 1966.

The family returned to Denver in 1968.  Jim resumed his job with Shell for a couple of years until joining his father in the family businesses: Denver Air Machinery Company and Denver Machine Shop, Inc.  Lee was recruited to help run those businesses as Sales and Marketing VP and eventually became Jim’s business partner and the co-owner of Denver Machine Shop.  I remember the considerable pride Lee displayed when introducing me to the Shop some years ago.  Each of the employees in turn had only praise for her and her importance to the company’s success particularly during the tough times of the 1980s.

Lee kept quiet about the constant severe pain she suffered from scoliosis and the surgeries that were the result.  She had 17 vertebrae fused in five separate operations beginning when she was 30 years old.  Somehow, she continued the annual family tradition to cut down their Christmas tree.  And she loved hiking with friends and family members despite continuous pain.  Typically concerned about others with the same condition rather than herself, she started and continued to lead the support group, “People for Scoliosis”.

Lee was a devoted mother and grandmother.  Their daughter, Tanya, was born in Denver in 1972 on the birthday of her six-year-old twin brothers.  Lee was proud that her three children completed college and were married before she 50 years old.  In her later years, she devoted her love and attention to her six grandchildren: JB, Aleece, Heather Lee, Kevin, April and Victoria.  They loved her in return.  Lee’s happiest moments were when the family was all together.

To say that Lee was a member of Denver Rotary for 18 years is a bit misleading.  She was an active Rotary wife for 30 additional years attending District and International Conventions and joining Jim in his many Rotary fund raising and other Club activities.  I introduced Lee to become a member of Denver Rotary in her own right in March of 2001.  As a member, she continued her mentorship for the High School Scholarship Awards, Denver Kids, and she supported students in Rotary exchange programs.  She was a Denver Rotary Club Foundation Fellow and The Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow +1.

We express deepest sympathy to Jim, Eric and Steph, Scott and Laura, Tanya and Eric and JB, Aleece, Heather Lee, Kevin, April and Victoria.

We miss Lee.  She brought a special spirit to every greeting.  The day was always brighter for each contact with her.

This Resolution was accepted by a standing vote of the members of The Rotary Club of Denver and others at the Warwick Hotel and on Zoom on April 15, 2021.

Memorial Resolution

June 23, 1929 – September 14, 2020
“Medical and Dental Billing”

Compiled and read by Steve Mast, November 12, 2020

Good afternoon family members of Phil Pankey, fellow Rotarians and guests.  We pause today to present this Memorial Resolution in memory and celebration of the life of our friend and fellow Rotarian, Phil Pankey.

Let me first recognize the family members and friends of Phil’s who have joined us today – Phil’s son Ralph Pankey, his wife Susan and daughter Tori, of Windsor, CO.  Phil’s daughter Jill Pankey Scheer and her husband Scott, of Littleton.  Scott’s father has been a long-time member of the Littleton Rotary Club.  Also joining us is our good friend Bob Martin who is a member and Past President of the Highlands Ranch Rotary Club.  Bob and his wife, our dearly departed Past President Sue Fox, were longtime friends of Phil’s.  As a matter of fact, Phil introduced Sue to our Club.

Phil was born in Harrisburg, Illinois.  He graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.S. in 1951 and an M.S. in 1956.  And on this Veteran’s day celebration it should be noted that Phil served in the Navy from 1953 to 1958 and as a Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve until 1977.

He joined the Denver Rotary Club in 1958.  Phil was the founder, owner and President of the Medical Administration Company, a billing and accounting service for doctors and dentists. He sold his company in 1976.

In looking through Phil’s membership file I wasn’t surprised to see recommendation letters for Phil describing him as “a young man of sterling character and pleasing personality” & “a young, successful and very industrious worker on anything to which he sets his mind”.  And the Credit Bureau report that the Club got from the Associated Credit Bureaus of America stated that the “subject is well regarded by all informants”.  And I was pleased to see that he paid his “admission fee” of $100 and his first quarter’s dues of $25.96.

As many of you remember, in August 2018 we celebrated Phil’s 60 years of perfect attendance. Phil remained a member of Club 31 even after moving to Mexico where he actively participated and made up missed meetings at the Rotary Club of Manzanillo.

Of course, he could not celebrate 60 years of perfect attendance without first celebrating his 50-year anniversary with the Club in May 2008. Phil was a member of Rotary for a total of 62 years, was a Denver Rotary Club Foundation Fellow, a Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow +1, and a contributor to our Club’s Centennial Project, The Player statue outside Coors Field. He was also a Club Board Director and a Club Secretary for President Pres Smith. In addition to serving on the Club board, Phil was also a board member for the Denver Athletic Club and was instrumental in forming our 35+ year meeting location with them.

In addition to Phil’s love and commitment to Rotary, he was also committed to the people and small businesses of Colorado when he served as the State representative for House District 38, Littleton from 1983 to 1998. During his tenure, Phil received the Law-Maker of the Year Award by For the Record Publication (1996), the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Guardian of Small Business Award (1998), and in 2009 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Denver Athletic Club…just to name a few.  During one of his award presentations, it was mentioned, “Phil was chosen for his dedicated work standing up on behalf of the average citizen and against special interests”.  I met Phil through Denver Rotary.  When he was a House Representative, I fondly remember him hosting Darlene’s and my kids, Brian and Lauren on the House floor.  Phil let them sit in “his chair” and explained the political process to them both.

It was an honor to have known Phil and witnessed his dedication to Rotary and the good things we can do. He will be dearly missed by Rotary, in the Denver and the Manzanillo communities.

Madam President and fellow Rotarians, I move for the adoption of this Resolution for Phil Pankey by a standing vote of the membership and others present.

This Resolution was accepted by a standing vote of the members of
The Rotary Club of Denver and others via Zoom on November 12, 2020.​​​​​​​

Rotarian Lee White Celebration of Life Update

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello! I hope everyone is doing well during this strange and difficult time. Based on the state of our world right now, there is no way that we are going to be able to hold Lee’s celebration of life ceremony on June 13. It is incredibly important to my family that we are able to get closure over Lee’s  passing but we want to honor her in the way that she deserves and that she wished for. So, we will definitely hold a service at Rockland Community Church at 2:00 pm and a big party at Lakewood Country Club from 4:00-9:00 pm at some point. As of right now, we have rescheduled Lee’s celebration of life for August 29, 2020. However, we need to wait until it is safe to bring a large group of people together and until those people who are coming from out of town feel comfortable with flying. At any rate, whenever we hold it, we would love to have you. Once we are able to pin down a safe date, I will get the details out to you.

In the meantime, consider visiting Lee’s obituary home page at All Veterans Funeral and Cremation where the service date has been and will be updated. For easy access click HERE. This will take you to her obituary page. From there, we would love it if you would leave a message or a photo on her tribute wall. Since it is possible that this date will need to be pushed out further, we will also email you again once we know the final date that gets selected.

We are so sorry that we haven’t been able to have Lee’s service and celebration during this uncertain time. Whenever that time may be, we hope that you remember the love that Lee shared with you and come to her celebration of life.

Jim White