Don Green's work has long made the Pikes Peak region a more creative, vibrant place.
The longtime artist and arts educator died Oct. 19. He was 90.
Green is the mind behind the plated steel bison and American Indian on horseback sculptures at the entrance to the Colorado Springs Airport; "Eos," the 1998 stainless steel-and-glass structure on the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus; the rearing stallion outside Pikes Peak Center; the candy-colored animal benches strewn throughout Cheyenne Mountain Zoo; and the bighorn sheep sculpture at Queens Canyon Quarry, emblazoned with the name Greg Francis to mark the Greg Francis Bighorn Sheep Habitat.
His pieces also can be found around the state, including Fort Collins and Greeley.
"Don is a quintessential Colorado artist," said Director of UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art Daisy McGowan in 2017. "His works are so much of the landscape of Colorado and his response to it."
Green, a Colorado Springs resident since 1940, earned a bachelor's in art at CU Boulder before studying teaching at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. His first stint as an art teacher came at East Junior High School in the Springs, and he went on to spend three decades teaching in District 11 schools, including Wasson High School and Doherty High School. He retired in 1985.
"Don Green was my mentor," said Floyd Tunson, a highly regarded artist who lives in Manitou Springs. He worked alongside Green at Palmer High School. "He was a profound influence on my growth as an artist, a teacher and a human being. He was a prolific artist, whose work helped to define our community. He was a generous soul, and I loved him dearly."
The sculptor was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine Green, a well-known potter. Together, the two created one of the large 7 Minute Spring stone receptacles that provide mineral water for drinking in Manitou Springs.
He's survived by children Linn G. Baker, Tony Green and Laura Green. A celebration of life will be held at 11:15 a.m. Dec. 28 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 2318 N. Cascade Ave.
Baker also became an artist and arts educator. She remembers being young and learning how to weld from her dad.
"All that steel melting and sparks flying — his shop was like something out of the Greek gods," Baker said. "I'll miss his critiques about my own work and his commentaries. It's hard losing the person who most appreciated your work."