Hank Bosco remembered as humanitarian, tourism leader
The Glenwood Springs community is taking pause this week to remember Henry “Hank” Bosco, longtime Glenwood Hot Springs executive, philanthropist and civic leader, who died on Monday at Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale at the age of 94.
A Glenwood native born to Italian immigrants who came to work in the hotel business, Bosco was notable not only for his many contributions to the hospitality industry, but his generosity to civic causes.
“He was a man who never lost sight of his roots, and always appreciated this community that gave him the chance to succeed, just like his father,” Hank’s son and fellow Hot Springs executive, John Bosco, said.
“Humility was one of his strongest virtues, and was the one he always tried to instill in us,” he said. “He leaves some big shoes to fill.”
Marianne Virgili, president and CEO for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, said most people knew him simply as “Hank.”
“His genuine connection to people and keen business sense helped build the community as we know it,” Virgili said. “We would not be the world-class resort we are without Hank Bosco. He will be greatly missed.”
Even into his 90s, Bosco could be found at his office in the Hot Springs Lodge, where he remained chairman of the board until 2015 when he retired.
“His easy charm made him a natural in the world of hospitality, and his magnanimity made a difference in the lives of countless people,” read a news release announcing his passing.
GREW UP IN HOTEL
Bosco was born on Oct. 20, 1922, the only child of Italian immigrant parents Mike and Phyllis Bosco. As a youngster he lived and worked in his parents’ hotel, the Star Hotel on Seventh Street, and in 1938 Mike Bosco purchased the adjacent Denver Hotel where Hank also worked.
After graduating from high school in 1940, he attended the University of Colorado. In his junior year, he enlisted in the Army Reserves and went on to serve as a rifleman with the 70th Infantry Division. He saw action in France, Germany and Belgium during World War II, resulting in a Bronze Star Medal for heroic achievements and service.
Upon returning to Glenwood Springs, Hank and his father expanded the Denver Hotel. In 1950, Hank married Dorothy “Dottie” Cowles. They had four children, Debbie, Gary, John and Gina.
It was in 1956, when Hot Springs owner Frank Kistler decided to sell the property, that the Bosco family association with the world-renowned tourist destination came about.
At the time, there were some concerns that the pool would become privately owned and closed to the public. To prevent that, Bosco teamed with 21 other families to raise the money needed for a down payment to buy the Hot Springs Pool, which at the time was in dire need of repair.
Bosco and other board members reinvested profits in an effort to reinvigorate the landmark natural spring-fed pool, and went on to create one of Colorado’s most well-known destinations.
Bosco served on the Hot Springs’ Board of Directors through the early years of the new ownership, and in 1976 became the general manager. He later served as board president until 2012, and then as chairman of the board until he resigned in February 2015.
In 2009, Bosco was recognized for his many entrepreneurial accomplishments over his lifetime and inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame.
As for civic involvement, he served on the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission, was a city councilor, represented the community in Club 20, was a member of the Elks Lodge, and was a member of the board of directors of the Valley View Hospital Association.
Bosco was also involved with the chamber’s Community on the Move committee and served on the board of directors of both First National Bank and Mesa National Bank.
One of Bosco’s favorite local charities was YouthZone, of which he was a charter supporter.
“Hank has left a legacy of supporting the community and its families, and he has passed that on to his kids,” YouthZone Executive Director Lori Mueller said. “He modeled what it means to be active and to create a great community, and he taught others how to do it.
“He left a legacy, and that legacy is still alive and well,” she said.
In 2015, Glenwood Springs City Council honored Bosco for his lifetime achievements with a state-issued proclamation declaring April 17 as Hank Bosco Day. The proclamation included a congratulatory letter from U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and a congressional tribute prepared by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton. The tribute was also read by Tipton on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and submitted into the Congressional Record.
Hank was fond of saying, “Anything I may have accomplished during my lifetime, I owe to the blessing of being able to surround myself with so many close friends, fellow employees and advisers. I humbly owe any successes to them, and any of my failures are mine alone.”
A funeral mass for Hank Bosco will be held at St. Stephen Catholic Church at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 31. A visitation is planned from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, immediately followed by a Rosary service. A full obituary appears on page A5.
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