Rouse, Jack W.

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .




Jack Rouse

Mr. Public Service

1920 - 1995

A Colorado native born in Denver.  Moved to Evergreen in 1945 after his discharge from the Army at the end of WWII. Married Collette Cooper in 1943, whose mother and stepfather Clarence and Maude Smith, owned and operated the first utility company in Evergreen.  The Evergreen Public Service Company (EPSCo) supplied water and electricity to Evergreen and the surrounding mountain communities.

Started work for EPSCo in 1946 as a meter reader and progressed through the ranks to become Front Range Division Manager and then Senior Vice President and Director of Public Service Company after two mergers of the utility (first with Colorado Central Power Company in 1954, and secondly with Public Service Company of Colorado in 1962), retiring in 1985.

He was commonly referred to as Mr. Public Service and the Mayor of Evergreen because he was so actively involved on behalf of the community during its formative years.  Public Service Company and its predecessors prior to the mergers paid a salary to this man whose primary responsibility for many years was the betterment of Evergreen.  His name became synonymous with community as the following list will indicate.

Some of his service included:  Founding Member, Charter President, Director of Evergreen Kiwanis Club; Director, President of Evergreen Chamber of Commerce; Director, President Evergreen Sanitation District; Director, chairman, Evergreen Scholarship Association; Director and one of five incorporators of Evergreen State Bank; President of School District C2; Director, Charter Secretary of Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department; Charter Director of the Civic Association; Director and Treasurer of the Rodeo Association; Director of the Recreation Association; Director of Boy Scout Troops 32 and 39 as well as Troop Committee Chairman.

In addition:  Incorporator and Charter Director of Bank of Georgetown; Director of Forest Heights Lodge; a "moving force" and director with the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra; a Coalition member of the Colorado Division of Highways; founding member and Director of Jefferson Land Associates; Director/Officer of Hiwan Golf Club; Director of West Jefferson Sanitation District; Incorporator and Director of Evergreen National Bank; member of the Colorado Historical Society; Charter Director of the Georgetown Historical Society; member of the Georgetown Loop Advisory Council; Director of Safety Council of Jefferson County; Member of Advisory Council of the Jefferson County Health Department; Member of the Jefferson County Planning Commission; Director of Industries for Jefferson County; Vice President of United Way; and Director for the Colorado Council for Economic Education; as well as being active in many professional associations directly connected to the utility/energy business.

Accomplishments: He was best known as the driving force for the expansion of the water service, development of the Evergreen Sanitation District, and bringing natural gas service to Evergreen and surrounding communities.  He also played a significant role in bringing banking to Evergreen, chartering the first Kiwanis Club, bringing the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra to Evergreen, forming the Evergreen Fire Protection District, organizing investors to create Hiwan Golf Club and develop surrounding properties.  Jack also served as the liaison with the Colorado State Highway Department for establishing the network of roads that led in and out of Evergreen.

Jack Rouse was a graduate of the U.S. Army War College while in the army and served as an officer (Captain and ultimately Major) assigned to working as an executive assistant to General Thomas D. Finley, commanding officer of the 89th Division.  The methodical, tactical, and disciplined approach of having worked so closely with a General during wartime would benefit Evergreen tremendously in the Post-War era.  In the absence of a local government, residents organized and addressed the needs themselves.

Ross Grimes attributed Jack's enormous leadership skills and calmness to his experience in the army. According to Grimes, Jack's personal relationships with "everyone" made him the best person to act as a liaison with the Highway Department and Denver Mountain Parks and to negotiate easements with individual landowners.  Straightening out tight curves was an early concern, as some sections of the road were only passable during certain months of the year by using chains.  "He proposed a straight roadway up from the lake to the Catholic Church, and many people panicked, fearing it would be too steep during the winter, but it got sun all day, so it wasn't a problem."

To improve the roads near Wah Keeney Park, he negotiated easements with Alf Means, owner of what later became Elk Meadow, and "all we had to pay was weed-stripping privileges," said Grimes, which amounted to "harvesting the wild grass along the roadway for his cattle."  When Evergreen had raw sewage in the streets, it was Rouse who organized the effort to address the need for public sanitation.

Jack's experience in the army caused him to excel at recruiting others to do a job, delegating responsibility, cultivating a teamwork environment, and mentoring others along the way.  And he did so without the need for recognition.

It was a time when fewer than 2,000 people lived in Evergreen year-round.  "Everyone knew everyone in those days," said Grimes.  "When a car passed, you waved.  When someone new moved to town, you had them over for dinner."  This was a time of apparent cohesiveness when residents pulled together for the common good, led by the man who'd been elevated by his peers to be the leader.

Little-known facts: Before there was a commercial bank in Evergreen, Jack operated a banking operation on Saturday mornings at Colorado Central Power, cashing checks for area residents.  He kept watch over a wall of cabinets holding the cabin keys of numerous customers so he could drain the water when they left in the fall and turn it back on before they returned in the summer.  He had to figure out a way to get enough voltage to the dairy on the end of the line so the milking machines didn't stop every time the well pump started.  And he was often the one who raised and lowered the flag in front of the office.  And he even coached the Ever-ready Killowatts, the Little League baseball team sponsored by Public Service Co.

According to long-time friend Bill Bennett, he was "a master at involving other people in community projects and activities" to bring great ideas to fruition.

Source:  Son Doug Rouse, letters from friends upon Jack's retirement, Ross Grimes