This area of the Club’s website is devoted to recognizing past club members who distinguished themselves in their service to Rotary and our community. It is hoped their service serves as an inspiration to all current and future club members.
 
Blakemore McCarty
Blakemore McCarty served as President of the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs 1959-1960, Vice-President 1955-56, and as a Director 1954-56 and 1958-60.
 
Blakemore was educated in Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado, and Colorado University Law School. He received degrees in Law and Business and also studied music and accounting. His college career was interrupted by World War II. He served in the U.S. Navy Reserves in 1941-1942, then entered the Regular Army as a Private in 1943, and was commissioned the following year, attaining the rank of Captain at his discharge. He served in the Reserves for 18 years, retiring as Major.
Blakemore thereafter joined the Law Firm of Foard and Foard, and later started his own private practice.  On November 15, 2004, he was recognized with the Lifetime of Service Award from the El Paso County Bar Association. Other achievements include: He was founder and President of the Pikes Peak Legal Aid Society, founder and former Director of Junior Achievement of Colorado Springs, founder and former Director of The Urban League of Colorado Springs, founder and former Director of Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs, President of Chamber of Commerce 1963, President of Community Council, Director of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Committee Chairman for the planning of the new El Paso County Courthouse and Jail and preserving the old Courthouse. Blakemore was a founder of The Bank at Broadmoor, The Broadmoor Agency, and in the past was a builder, contractor, musician, gin rummy player and old car buff. Recently, he was a member of the Broadmoor Golf Club, El Paso Club, Sons of the American Revolution and Winter Night Club.
 
Blakemore McCarty passed away on February 9, 2009, at age 85 after a valiant struggle with emphysema. Blakemore was known to be a kind, loving husband, father, brother, business partner, friend, mentor and compatriot. He was survived at his death by his loving wife of 35 years, Barb, his daughter, Julie Beall (Doug), grandchildren Annie and Kevan, his sister, Mary Ross, of Colorado Springs, his brothers, John McCarty, of Colorado Springs and Ray McCarty, of El Cajon, California.
Edward L. Bunts
Edward L. Bunts distinguished himself and left an impact not only in his Rotary involvement but also in his professional career as an architect and in his community activities.
Edward's Rotary involvement included the following:
 
Edward was Rotary District Governor 1957-58
RI Information Institute Counselor 1958-59
RI World Community Serv. Committee 1967-68
RCCS President 1942-43, Treasurer 1938-39, and Director 1937-39
 
Edward moved to Colorado Springs in 1918 at the age of 17 to receive treatment for tuberculosis.  He wasn't expected to live, his son said, "He not only lived but had a very meaningful impact in the Springs."
His first architectural project was The First Christian Church, 16 E. Platte Ave. in 1938. He went on to design Palmer High School (1940s section), the Masonic Temple, the First United Methodist Church, and the El Paso County Judicial Building.  By the end of his career, he had designed nearly 500 residential and commercial buildings and had received numerous awards for his projects. He was elected to the first class of the Palmer High School Hall of Fame.
 
In addition to Edward's Rotary involvement Edward served the community as an officer in the Masonic Lodge, past president of Goodwill Industries, and as a past director of the Rocky Mountain Rehabilitation Center. He also served on the City Contractors Examining Board, City Planning Commission and was a past director of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.
 
Edward passed away on December 30, 1995, at the age of 94. He was survived by his wife Margaret his son Jack, four grandchildren and five great
grandchildren.
Dr. George W. Bancroft

Dr. George W. Bancroft joined the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs in 1929, and served as club president 1946-47 and as a director 1943-45 and 1946-48.

George was born October 13, 1889, in Colorado Springs, graduated from Colorado College and University of Colorado Medical School, and thereafter served in the Rainbow Division in France and Germany for 22 months in World War I as a major attached to the division's surgeon's staff.  After the war, he did post-graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School of Surgery and the Royal College of Medicine, London, England.

Dr. Bancroft was often honored for his humanitarian work, especially his interest in working with crippled children.  He often provided free care for medically indigent children, and it was once estimated he performed over 1,500 surgeries on children whose parents could not pay for them. The Rotary Club of Colorado Springs helped pick up the costs of some of these surgeries. For many years he gave free physicals to Goodwill Industries employees. 

Dr. Bancroft was the attending surgeon in all Colorado Springs hospitals and the Chief of Staff at St. Francis and Memorial hospitals. Dr. Bancroft was one of 13 chosen founding members of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and served on many medical boards. After 52 years of the active practice of medicine and surgery, he retired in 1966 and took up painting (following the steps of his father, W.H. Bancroft a nationally known Western artist).

In 1974 Dr. Bancroft was honored as Man of the Year by the CU Medical School Alumni of the College of Medicine.

Dr. Bancroft passed away on March 28, 1979. He was survived by his wife Ruth, two sons, and two grandsons. 

Sources: Rotary club directory 1963, Gazette obituary April 1, 1979, Gazette articles April 9, 1972 and September 11, 1976

Brig. Gen. Kenneth I. Curtis

Ken Curtis was a member of our club from just after his retirement from the US Army in 1995 until he passed away in 2005. During those twenty years of “service above self”, Ken served immediately as our club’s president in 1966-67 followed in 1973-74 as District Governor for Rotary District 5470. He was always there at club meetings adding a touch of humor wherever he sat. Shortly after his death in November of 2005, The Gazette had a feature article on his life which follows. 

Brig. Gen. Kenneth I. Curtis served on the staff of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and was the deputy chief of staff at the Army Air Defense Command, predecessor of NORAD. But that's not why he'll be remembered in Colorado Springs. Curtis, who retired from the Army in 1965, became one of Colorado Springs' best-known and hardest-working community activists. 

In 1928 at age 18, Ken worked his way around the world on a tramp steamer. This voyage brought him to exotic ports such as Shanghai and Bombay and left Ken a changed young man. By 1931 he had received an appointment to the U.S. Military 

Academy at West Point and by 1935 he had graduated with a commission in the Artillery. 

During World War II, Ken served in the Southwest Pacific Arena for three years. During his last year and a half in the area, he was with the G-3 Plans and Operations Division General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific, Philippines Theater where he earned the Legion of Merit Award. It was during this time that Ken served on the staff of General Douglas MacArthur, who, puffing on his corn cob pipe, frequently strode into the office of then Lt. Col. Ken Curtis with orders for a new and often challenging, island-hopping assignment.

Ken received the Philippines Liberation Ribbon with the Campaign Service Star and the Philippines Independence Ribbon along with the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal. Upon his return to the United States he attended the Army and Navy Staff College (now the Armed Forces Staff College) followed by four years at the Pentagon in the Organizational and Training Division of the Department of the Army General Staff. Next, he went to Canada for three years with the Interchange Group, to work with representatives from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in an effort to standardize military equipment, tactics and strategies. Returning to this country in October, 1952, he spent three years as the Executive Officer of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Brigade in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, responsible for defending major U.S. cities from Cold War attacks. In 1954 he attended the Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania followed by the Strategic Intelligence School in Washington D.C. After this training he spent two years as the Army Attache to India and Nepal where he had the pleasure of working with the President of India and King Mahendra of Nepal. Upon his return to the U.S. in August, 1958, he began his first assignment at the U.S. Army Air Defense Command headquarters in Colorado Springs where he was, successively, its Information Officer, Assistant Chief-of-Staff, G-3 (Operations and Training), and Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration and Logistics. In 1961 Ken moved to Korea with the Korean Military Advisory Group, serving as the senior advisor to the Commanding General of the 2nd Republic of Korea Army. 

He returned to Colorado Springs for good in June, 1962, serving as Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Army Air Defense Command, the predecessor of NORAD. Ken retired from the Army on August 1, 1965 as a Brigadier General and received the Distinguished Service Medal. 

Then Ken really got busy, switching from a career of service to his country to one of service to his community and to his fellow man, and for the next 40 years Ken generously shared his leadership and business acumen through long term commitments with organizations such as the Downtown Colorado Springs Rotary Club, The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Easter Seals Southern Colorado, the American Heart Association and the Pioneers Museum. 

Ken’s most noticeable work was with the Pioneers Museum, where he was chairman from 1974 to 1982. Ken oversaw the laborious project of moving the museum, which had been in the old Carnegie Library wing at Penrose Library, to the courthouse that now houses it at 217 S. Tejon St. The effort prevented the old courthouse from being demolished. He also founded the Friends of the Pioneers Museum. 

"He was one of those rare individuals that saw a need in the community and took a leadership role," Mayberry said. "You look at that building, our lovely restored courthouse, and that's a monument to him."

Curtis also played a major role in the Easter Seals organization, serving on the local board for decades and serving three terms as president of the state organization. He remained active in numerous organizations, attending functions a week before he died. He still drove himself. 

"He stood for everything that I consider decent and kind," a friend said. 

While Ken was passionate about assisting with community needs, his gift of giving did not end with serving on Boards. Ken's respect for the dignity of every human being led him to volunteer directly with individuals in need within multiple organizations. For over 15 years he led a two hour group session with Alzheimer's residents at Namaste, where, in the last month, at age 95, he surpassed the "1000 volunteer hours" mark. In addition, he volunteered with clients at Pikes Peak Mental Health for over 20 years. His philanthropic support has left an eternal mark on organizations such as Pikes Peak Hospice, Penrose Hospital, The Humane Society, the Rotary Foundation and Easter Seals Southern Colorado. For a man who was retired for over 40 years, he really never retired. He always served!

 

Source Gazette article: Gazette, The (Colorado Springs), Nov 24, 2005 by R. SCOTT RAPPOLD THE GAZETTE

Leslie Cook

Leslie Cook was a member of the Colorado Springs Rotary from 1988 through 2016, in total, 28 years. She was the 2nd woman to join our club. The personal interest that brought Leslie to Rotary was the group’s efforts for global eradication of polio. When Leslie was a child, her piano teacher had polio. In 1948, the hardest hit state in the US for polio was Iowa, where Leslie was living. Her son was sick at one point and some of the symptoms pointed toward polio. Leslie said she’ll never forget the panic and terror she felt. Her son was vaccinated as soon as the Salk vaccine was available. 

 

Leslie was born and raised in Colorado Springs, although she moved around a lot during her childhood and into adulthood but returned to Colorado Springs in 1949, after graduating from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, with a major in drama and minor in journalism.

 

Leslie met Jay Cook in 1958 – a radio and television personality with KRDO and in her own words, “an incredibly good-looking man!” Leslie was working at KRDO, where she did traffic, editing news, and voiceovers for radio. They were married in 1960. With several children at home and the Vietnam War starting, Jay “resigned” her from KRDO to stay at home. Leslie was the proud mother of 3 of her own children, 3 adopted girls and 1 step-son. She stayed close with them and kept up on their families. She also had 12 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

 

In 1964, Leslie joined Red Cross as a Director of Public Relations/Public Information/Youth Programs.  She stayed very busy with the various programs, to include managing volunteers in local nursing homes, before Silver Key was created.  Leslie was also instrumental in bringing Silver Key to Colorado Springs, which later on helped get her to Rotary every week in the last years of her life. In 1983, she became CEO of Red Cross – Pikes Peak Chapter. 

 

Leslie opened the first homeless shelter in the Colorado Springs area in 1986. She had been previously told that she could not do this but when approached by United Way, she just couldn’t say no. Ironically, she was later asked by Red Cross to advise on opening shelters in the San Francisco/Oakland area. 

 

Leslie retired from Red Cross in 1994. Some of the highlights of her career with Red Cross include opening the homeless shelters, meeting Elizabeth Dole, Red Cross “Flood In” Fundraiser in 1969 to help fund recovery efforts for the floods in the Midwest, traveling to various disaster areas and being able to make a difference. Leslie exemplified a true spirit of Service Above Self  - apparent through her career, her rotary involvement and her selfless attitude for others, especially children.


Leslie had a distinguished professional career that included: 

  • Director of Children's Theatre for the Fine Arts Center

  • KRDO radio and TV

  • Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross for 30 years. 

  • She opened the first Red Cross Shelter nationwide

  • Established the Child Enrichment Center for children

  • Directed a $1,000,000 Combined Federal Campaign 

  • Developed the Youth Volunteer Center

  • Awards:

    • Sertoma Service to Mankind (twice)

    • American Bar Association Liberty Bell

    • Partners in Philanthropy Outstanding Fund Raising Volunteer

    • the first United Way Spirit of Commitment Award

    • Red Cross "Coming Home" Honorary Chair

    • The Urban Peak Colorado Springs "Path Maker Award." 

 
  • Her community service included chairmanships for: 

    • Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful

    • Pikes Peak Community Action Agency

    • Centered Life: Education, Counseling and Spiritual Care

    • Charter member of the Chamber of Commerce Foundation

    • Treasurer for Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful

    • Secretary for Full Circle Alt. Inc.

    • She co-chaired the Friends of Lowell School Group

    • Affordable Housing Committee for the city 

 
  • She served on the following: 

    • Pikes Peak Center Board

    • The Care Castle

    • The Combined Federal Campaign Board

    • a charter member of the Homeward Pikes Peak Board

    • Served as Board Secretary for the Urban Peak Colorado Springs, formerly The Place. 

    • Leslie was a Charter member of the Faith Based Education Board

    • Official spokesperson for United Way Campaign 2000. 

    • Leslie was the second woman in the Pikes Peak region to become a Rotarian. 

 

Even during the last months of Leslie Cook's life she insisted on getting dressed up, attending events like the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs Butterfly gala and sharing her wisdom and grace with the nonprofit community. Fellow Rotarian Bob Holmes (whom she sponsored into the club in 2004) said “She had such an innate sense of dignity, fairness and compassion." Holmes said he spent about 10 years driving Cook to regular meetings of the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs. He called the weekly opportunities to spend time with Cook "Fridays with Leslie."


 

In 2012, I was so lucky to join Leslie for Thanksgiving in her home. We spent the day talking about her long and storied life and although many of the stories were not appropriate for today’s audience, she was kind and thoughtful, knowing that year that I would have been sitting at home alone if not for her invitation. I bought Gone with the Wind to watch because she mentioned that it was her favorite movie ever. She talked about the many forward steps that women had journeyed during her lifetime. She did everything that she could to help women rise to their callings and put antiquated thinking behind them. She loved her own 6 children and every other child whose path crossed hers. 

 

She sponsored many individuals into our club, including Bob Holmes (my sponsor), Rhea Woltman, Bart Givens and Jane Young. I was told that when Leslie “invited” you to do something, such as join a group, you didn’t ask questions. You just got your checkbook out because anything Leslie stood for was worth doing. 



 

Until her death, Leslie engaged in the efforts of our club through Rotary Making A Difference and serving on the Scholarship Committee. Besides polio eradication, one of Leslie’s favorite rotary projects was the Veteran Memorial in Monument Valley Park.


The guiding principle that led Leslie through her adulthood were the words from her husband, Jay. “Pay Attention.” “In all things, pay attention,” she said. Her favorite quote is an old Yiddish proverb, reformulated by Woody Allen that goes  - “Man plans God laughs.” Leslie’s favorite movie was Gone With The Wind and her favorite book was Les Miserables. 

 

Five words that describe this incredible lady: no-nonsense, assertive, courageous, forward-thinking, and intense. Leslie herself added one more: loud. Thank goodness! She was not one to sit around – even in her wheelchair, Leslie stood taller than most humans. Our community and our club are better in ways we’ll never completely know. 


Leslie sponsored the person who became MY sponsor into the club. So I called her my GRANDSponsor. That meant that Rhea Woltman, Bart Givens and Jane Young are my aunts and uncle. My sponsor, Bob, brought me and also Carol Bach into the club so Carol became my sister. So when people talk about their Rotary family, it’s not a joke. It’s a wonderful biproduct of being a Rotarian in a club of great people.

 

My sponsor, Bob Holmes, is also quoted as saying that Leslie passed away one full hour before the Super Bowl kickoff on February 7, 2016 because she was too polite to die during the game, especially with the Broncos playing.


I sat with Leslie every single week at Rotary. One Friday another Rotarian said, “You need to sit at other tables and get to know more club members.” I told him that I didn’t think I would ever regret sitting with her every week she was here. And I don’t. You see, Leslie wasn’t just my Grandsponsor. 

Leslie Cook was totally, thoroughly, utterly and absolutely GRAND.

Written by Kathleen Saltmarsh-Voss and presented at the April 16, 2022 club meeting
 
This area of the Club’s website is devoted to recognizing past club members who distinguished themselves in their service to Rotary and our community. It is hoped their service serves as an inspiration to all current and future club members.