Obituary: Loyal Leavenworth
Lee Leavenworth was a legendary lawyer on Colorado’s Western Slope and beyond. Driving from Rifle to Aspen, you will pass by multiple projects that he helped bring to fruition, from the Rifle Business Park to multiple properties in Glenwood Springs to much of Basalt, including all of Willits. His genius helped shape municipal policy and water law throughout Colorado. He was truly a man of a bygone era.
Lee grew up in Canton, Ohio and moved to Colorado after high school. He graduated cum laude from the University of Colorado in 1971, obtained his law degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1976, and clerked for the Colorado Court of Appeals.
He moved to the Roaring Fork Valley and practiced law in Glenwood Springs from the late 1970s through 2010. Lee had a brilliant mind and a photographic memory and could quote the law by paragraph and page number without opening a book. He was a patient and generous mentor for scores of attorneys who passed through his office, including many of today’s most prominent lawyers in the valley. He represented countless developers, special districts, and municipalities over the years, including Basalt, Rifle, New Castle, Blue River, Silt, Buena Vista, Salida, Meeker, Rangely, Parachute and the Colorado River Water Conservation District. He served as the President of the Colorado Municipal League.
Lee was exceptionally funny and loved to share laughs with his family, friends, and colleagues. He was equally comfortable at formal events in Aspen, goofing around on Lake Powell, sharing a meal at the old Sopris Restaurant, or riding a gondola in the canals of Venice. He was relentless in the pursuit of his clients’ interests. He would often come up with ingenious and novel solutions to issues, and to close the deal he could dictate a 40-page agreement off the top of his head.
Lee passed away in his own bed at his longtime home in Missouri Heights after fighting a long disease. He was preceded in death by his beloved golden retrievers Jessup, Jake (“Fluffy”) and Jo-Jo. He is survived by his loving wife, Joanie, sons Thatcher and Luke, his sister Lin, brothers Dave and Tom, and grandson Miles.
A memorial get-together and celebration of Lee’s life will be announced soon. To assist, send donations in Lee’s memory to Alpine Bank marked Lee Leavenworth Memorial Fund.
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