Names & Faces


Area politicians worth recalling

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

This week, instead of a featured profile, I'm encouraging readers to take a look back at the area residents who have been elected to serve in governmental positions at either the state or national level.  

To read about them, simply click on their picture (in the carousel below) to be directed to a profile previously published in

The series includes:

  • Gary Hart, who served as a Senator from Colorado and ran as a candidate for President
  • State Senator Sally Hopper, who served in the Colorado Legislature
  • John Evans, Colorado's second Territorial Governor
  • State Representative Cheri Gerou, who served in the Colorado Legislature
  • State Representative John Witwer, also a member of the Colorado Legislature
  • State Representative Rob Witwer (John's son), who followed in his dad's position in the Colorado Legislature
  • State Representative Tony Grampsas, who served seven terms in the Colorado Legislature

Dahl, Linda

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .



Linda Dahl

(1951 - ) 

Although Linda Dahl was originally from Boston, her father's job took the family to a number of major cities including Kansas City, Denver, the Bay Area, and Chicago.  She graduated high school in the North Shore of Chicago in 1969.  "It was a wonderful time to be a girl," she remembers fondly.  "Suddenly there were so many choices."

I was expected to work and to volunteer at something meaningful,” she says, explaining how she grew to love what she did. While still in high school she volunteered with a summer camp in the inner city and was tutoring at Cabrini-Green [Chicago public housing] when riots broke out there in the spring of 1968 when Martin Luther King was assassinated. “My father saw me on the evening news!” which wasn’t necessarily a good thing.


Cranmer, George E.

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .


George Cranmer

(1884 – 1975)

A Colorado native, George Cranmer loved the outdoors because of his family’s ranching activity, which later defined his career. After graduating from Princeton in 1907, he worked in his family’s ranching business and partnered in a brokerage firm.  He liquidated his holdings in the firm the year before the crash of the stock market in 1929, not because of any foresight but because of a disagreement with his partner. He’d acquired enough wealth to retire at age 44.

He entered into politics, chairing Ben Stapleton’s successful bid for becoming mayor of Denver and in 1935 was named Manager of Parks and Improvements. The mountain parks system – conceived by John Brisben Walker and Mayor Robert Speer – was implemented in 1913 with passage of a mill levy.

In the position as Manager of Parks and Improvements, he was responsible for the construction of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. He was known for getting things done, one who sometimes sought out unconventional means to accomplish his goals, and one who didn’t always follow protocol.  He utilized the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) to dynamite and clear the rocks between the imposing red rock formations that created the outdoor theatre with natural acoustics and a seating capacity of more than 9,500. The construction project took 12 years.


DeStefano, Jon

Written by Marilyn Saltzman on .


Jon DeStefano

(1945 - )

Raised in Chicago and educated in Catholic schools, Jon DeStefano became a lifelong advocate for public education – as a teacher, coach and school board member. He started his career as an English and journalism teacher at Skinner Middle School in Denver and taught at North High School. While teaching, Jon took on the role of editor of The Slate, the official publication of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, in 1970, launching him into a new career as president of The Publication Company.

Founded in 1973, the company published newspapers for nonprofits such as teachers’ associations, Realtor’s associations and youth soccer. His unique business plan included writing the stories, designing the layout and selling advertising, so the newspapers were printed at no cost to the nonprofits.

He and his wife, Peggy, who met while she was at Loretto Heights and he was at Regis, decided to move to Jefferson County when their children were young on the advice of a friend, who said Jeffco had one of the best school districts in the nation.


Ning, Constance C.

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .


Connie Ning

(1944 - )

Connie’s desire to live in the mountains – not have a view of them – is what caused Ted and Connie Ning to relocate from Southeast Denver to Evergreen in 1976 when Ted, a urologist, was finishing his residency at the University of Colorado. They’d met while attending Northwestern in Chicago where she’d grown up.

Ted had been drafted into the army out of his internship; and while he was in Vietnam, they’d had a second child. Connie became involved with a group sending aid to Vietnamese orphanages, giving talks and raising money. They adopted a child from Vietnam, and Connie was busy “with a flock of kids.”

Friends of Children of Vietnam

The Nings helped to start an adoption agency in Denver – Friends of Children of Vietnam – one of seven agencies that participated in the evacuation of more than 2,500 Vietnamese orphans during Operation Babylift in April of 1975.