Leo Thomas Prinster
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Leo Thomas Prinster, known to family and friends as Teo, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on Aug. 8, 2012 after a lengthy illness at his home in Glenwood Springs. He was 83.
Teo was born Dec. 14, 1928, to Frank Joseph Prinster, Sr. and Josephine Patterson Prinster, in Grand Junction.
An avid sports fan and accomplished athlete, he graduated from Grand Junction High School in 1946, leading the basketball team to its first state championship, and earning the coveted Joe Biggs Memorial Trophy for Most Outstanding Athlete. He attended the University of Utah on a football scholarship and graduated with a degree in business accounting. Soon after college, Teo entered the U.S. Marine Corp where he served his country for two years before returning to Colorado to resume his career in the family business of City Market grocery stores.
He married Delores Justin in 1950 and together they had five children.
Teo chose a life in the grocery business, taking inspiration from his father and brothers. Teo’s dedication and loyalty to City Market was sparked in the early 1940s while working alongside his father, uncles, and brothers in one of the local stores. He helped the family business through its start-up stages which survived and thrived
through the difficult years of World War II. Teo officially began his 38-year tenure with City Market as the store manager in Durango, moving up the ranks at the company headquarters in Grand Junction as District Manager, then Vice President of Real Estate Development, and ultimately succeeding as President in 1987, a position he held until his retirement in 1990.
Teo, along with his father, brothers and uncles, were instrumental in the company’s expansion throughout western Colorado, eastern Utah and southern Wyoming. He helped orchestrate the company’s integration with Dillon Companies, Inc. of Hutchinson, Kansas in 1969 and with Kroger Companies, Inc. in 1982. Teo was a quiet leader who earned the respect and admiration of his employees and the community at large and who believed that a leader’s most important attributes are compassion for others and a humble view of himself. Although he was a savvy businessman with a keen eye for real-estate development, he took great pride in how City Market brought new jobs and economic benefits to their host cities and towns.
Teo will long be remembered for helping build an iconic business in western Colorado and making a positive impact on every life he touched along the way. Teo served on the Board of Directors at St. Mary’s Hospital and Club 20, as well as the Grand Junction Economic Partnership Council.
In 1984, Teo married his high school sweetheart, Carolyn Barker Nourse. Together, they demonstrated dedication, generosity, and humility as parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and as active community leaders and philanthropists. They have touched the lives and hearts of their families, friends, and countless others. In 2000, they moved to Glenwood Springs to enjoy retirement and extend their community service in the Roaring Fork Valley.
In recognition for their many years of charitable and community work, they were named Garfield County Humanitarians of the year in 2007. As strong supporters of the Catholic Church and many charitable causes, their work included financial support and volunteer service for Grand Valley Catholic Outreach and Literacy Outreach; “Tom’s Door” interfaith outreach program, providing emergency assistance to the needy of the Roaring Fork Valley; support for the Heart and Vascular Center at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs; as well as being the sole sponsors of three individual scholarships for Colorado Mountain College students. Teo, along with several of his siblings, established the Prinster Family Scholarship for underprivileged students to attend Holy Family Catholic School in Grand Junction and another scholarship at the University of Notre Dame for Colorado students.
Teo was a gentle and compassionate husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend. Teo loved the outdoors and the beauty of western Colorado and enjoyed playing golf, skiing, fly fishing and, of course, watching football. His quiet demeanor and pleasant smile, his charming character, and his keen business-sense are qualities that will be remembered by all who knew him.
Survivors include his wife Carolyn; his former wife Delores Prinster, their children Nick (Kathy) Prinster of Grand Junction, Ceyl Prinster (Dan Sheehan) of Denver, Sandi (Randy) Griffin of Breckenridge, Mike Prinster of Aspen, and David (Lou) Prinster of Boulder; his stepchildren Kevin (Julie) Nourse of Grand Junction, Becky (Tom) Valasek of Boise, Idaho, Debbie Thompson (John) of Colorado Springs, Tom Nourse of Fairplay, Denise Clough of Rochester, NY; 28 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren; his brothers Joseph C. Prinster of Grand Junction and Brother Nicholas “Clarence” Prinster of The Abby of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville, Utah, and sisters Mary Luff and Lucille Haggerty of Grand Junction. Preceding him in death are his brother Frank Prinster Jr. and sisters Martha Prinster and Josephine Deonier and Steven Nourse.
A rosary will be held at Callahan Edfast Mortuary on Friday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. A mass will be celebrated in his honor at Saint Joseph’s Church in Grand Junction on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. Please make any memorial contributions to a charity of your choice or any of those mentioned in this article.
A special heartfelt thanks for all the wonderful care and love provided from Hospice of the Valley in Basalt.
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