SIDE STREETS: Remembering a few who made huge contributions to the region

BILL VOGRIN Updated: December 21, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: December 21, 2012

As we sit poised to start a new year, let’s not forget some of the folks we lost in 2012 after contributing much to Colorado Springs.

This is not a definitive list. Many good people died in the past 12 months. But these folks are at the top of my list for a variety of reasons: Cindy Fowler, Bob Armendariz, Bud Shepard and Jim Hall.

I was acquainted with Cindy and Bob and knew Bud and Jim only by reputation.

Where do I even start explaining all the ways Cindy Fowler contributed to the community?

She was one of those special people who always seemed to put others first.

For example,  Cindy was a 25-year Newborn Hope volunteer. Heck, they even named an award after her: the Cindy Fowler Award of Hope.

She died Feb. 29 at age 53 and eulogies described her life and contribution to Colorado Springs with words like “dedicated service” and “loving and caring spirit” and “superior community service.”

Cindy raised thousands of dollars for women facing breast cancer and to fight premature infant deaths. She was active in so many groups it makes me think she worked eight days a week.

Bob Armendariz was a different type of community leader. From his work as public information officer at Fort Carson to becoming a reporter/photographer at KKTV, as founder of Hispania News and his leadership of the Colorado Springs Press Association, Bob was an advocate for Hispanic causes and gave voice to veterans, farmers, immigrants and minority groups.

He died May 2 at age 69, just short of the 25th anniversary of Hispania News, which he first distributed during an annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in 1987.

Mourners praised Bob as an early leader of the Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and advocate for minority-owned businesses to get an equal opportunity to compete for contracts in  the public and private sectors.

Bud Shepard, who died July 31 at age 82, had a very tangible impact on Colorado Springs as a native who started building homes in 1950 and then emerged as a leading developer.

In the late 1960s, Bud and his brother, Bruce, pioneered the idea of large, master-planned communities in the region when they created the Village Seven neighborhood on the city’s northeast corner. Instead of just tracts of homes, Village Seven was designed as an entire community with parks and schools and shopping districts — a revolutionary concept in Colorado Springs of the late 1960s.

What I liked most about the project is the whimsical names they gave the streets in Village Seven such as Teeter Totter Circle, Seesaw Lane and Nonchalant Circle.

Finally, there’s Jim Hall, who died Nov. 1 at age 70 after a life that mirrored so many others.

Hall came to Colorado Springs via military service and returned to build a business, create a family and shape the community in many ways.

Hall arrived in 1959, stationed at the old Ent Air Force Base, now the U.S. Olympic Training Center. After a distinguished career, he left the Air Force and returned to the Springs. He taught water skiing at The Broadmoor hotel and skiing at Ski Broadmoor, and lived in Ivywild.

During that time, he met a guest at the resort, Nechie, whom he married in 1967. Three years later they started PRACO, which they built into a major statewide public relations and advertising agency.

Like the others, Hall served on community boards. He was not as high-profile in the public’s eye, perhaps. but community leaders praised his behind-the-scenes contributions, problem-solving and creativity.

I sure wish all four were still with us. But we’re lucky we had them for as long as we did.

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