Applewood's Carl F. Eiberger II dies at age 88

Community loses Army veteran, attorney and open space advocate

Posted 3/18/19

Education, open space and helping others. Those are three of Carl Eiberger's passions that he will be remembered for. “Carl was a great friend and an outstanding lawyer,” said U.S. Rep. Ed …

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Applewood's Carl F. Eiberger II dies at age 88

Community loses Army veteran, attorney and open space advocate

Posted

Education, open space and helping others.

Those are three of Carl Eiberger's passions that he will be remembered for.

“Carl was a great friend and an outstanding lawyer,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a former neighbor and family friend of Eiberger's, “as well as a good citizen who helped keep Applewood and Golden a great place to live.”

Carl F. Eiberger II, 88, died from illness on March 6 in his home in Applewood.

Growing up during the Great Depression in extreme poverty, Eiberger was born in the slums of Denver on Jan. 17, 1931.

“He used education as a way out of poverty,” his daughter Mary Eiberger said. “He never wanted his children to live one day in the poverty that he grew up in.”

Eiberger graduated high school as valedictorian from St. Joseph Catholic School in Denver in 1948. He turned down a full-ride scholarship to Princeton. Instead he studied at the University of Notre Dame on a small scholarship, supplemented by working in the school's kitchens — cleaning and emptying garbage.

He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in chemistry in 1952.

Eiberger earned his Juris Doctorate Degree, again graduating magna cum laude, from Notre Dame in 1954. That year, the U.S. Department of Justice named him one of 25 outstanding law graduates in the nation.

“While perhaps equaled, Carl's love of Notre Dame and especially Notre Dame Law School was never surpassed,” wrote the author of the March 2019 Colorado Notre Dame Lawyers' Committee News. “There is no doubt that Carl was the driving force in opening the lines of communication of Notre Dame lawyers and aspiring lawyers in Colorado … And those of us older than 40 will remember Carl's annual end of the year letters encouraging contributions to Notre Dame Law School to support student scholarships.”

Eiberger served on the board of the Notre Dame Law Association for more than 50 years, and following that, remained active as a member of the Law School Advisory Council.

The Rev. David Link, former dean of the Notre Dame Law School, met Eiberger in 1975 when Eiberger was a member of the advisory council. Eiberger served in that role for the entire time of Link’s deanship, Link said.

“He was an advisor with the highest of standards,” Link said. “His loyalty was not only to the school, but to each individual student and faculty member. Many Notre Dame law alumni owe their successful careers to Carl’s definition of principled practice.”

Eiberger offered First Judicial District Judge Laura A. Tighe her first job in Colorado in 1986, she said.

"Carl had a remarkable record in assisting new attorneys secure their first job," Tighe said. "He was a wonderful mentor to me and countless other attorneys in the Denver legal community."

Tighe added that Eiberger continued to send notes of encouragement throughout her legal career, even after her appointment to the bench.

Along with being a proud alumnus of Notre Dame, Eiberger was also a proud Army veteran of the Korean War (1950-1953).

Eiberger eventually returned to Colorado and married Arvada native Margurette Dickerson. The two had four children — Carl Frederick III, Mary, James and Eileen. Margurette and Eileen preceded him in death. He is survived by his three other children, who all reside in Colorado; two grandchildren; and his long-time companion, Dr. Carol Schneider.

Mary Eiberger said she recalls waterskiing on Sloan's Lake every weekend in the summer and snow skiing trips to the mountains in the winter. Often, the latter included Eiberger working on his briefs in the lodge while his children hit the slopes.

She also remembers the entire family piling into the station wagon and driving the thousands of miles across the U.S. to visit museums, Civil War monuments, the Liberty Bell, a satellite launch at Cape Canaveral and other places of historic or educational significance.

“Instead of having us read about history, my dad taught us history,” Mary Eiberger said.

In 1958, Eiberger and Dickerson were one of the first few to build a home in the Applewood community of Golden.

“He saw the west side develop, (but) he wanted to help keep it natural,” Mary Eiberger said, adding he helped to create 11 parks in the area. “He loved nature and he loved Colorado. But more than anything, he did it for the people.”

As a longtime board member of the Prospect Recreation & Park District, Eiberger is the founder of Applewood Park, an 11-acre park located at 1840 Alkire Court in Golden. A plaque near the playground marks the recognition.

Specializing in labor and employment, Eiberger practiced law in the Denver area for more than 65 years. Some of his notable clients include AT&T, Proctor and Gamble, Old Bell systems, Conoco, AAA and the Denver Post.

Eiberger also served as advisory council to the Colorado Department of Labor, appointed to the role by former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, who served three terms from 1975-1987.

Eiberger's “biggest passion was giving back to the community,” Mary Eiberger said.

He felt so strongly about it, she added, that he donated an estimated $2 million worth of free legal work throughout his lifetime, according to family.

“We wouldn't have a South Table Mountain Park if it weren't for Carl Eiberger,” said Don Parker, president of Save the Mesas, a citizens group that exists to ensure that the land, that is not privately owned, on Golden's table mountains remains open space.

Parker met Eiberger sometime in the mid-1990s, but the two got to know each other when Save the Mesas formed to keep Nike from headquartering on South Table Mountain in 1998. Parker described Eiberger as determined, committed and generous.

Eiberger was involved with Save the Mesas of the late-1990s, Parker said, but it was during the approximate 20-year quarry proposal for South Table Mountain that he will likely be most recognized for.

In a March 12, 1998, article, Westword reported that Leo “Bradley and Coors first proposed a quarry on top of South Table in 1975.” The Jefferson County commissioners denied a rezone request for the proposed quarry in 1982, following 98 public hearings. However, Westword reported, “six years later, the proposal was revived but was withdrawn following a public outcry.”

In 1992, Bradley requested a mining permit for the land from the Mined Land Reclamation Board, but that was denied in 1994 — the board citing a lack of adequate environmental and engineering studies.

A coalition of 14 homeowners' groups took the lead in opposition to the quarry plans, representing about 5,000 households in the immediate area of South Table Mountain, according to reporting by Westword.

Eiberger handled much of the legal work on behalf of the citizen opposers. He did it pro bono, telling Westword at the time that he estimated it was about $500,000 worth of free legal work for the quarry issue alone.

Parker said he is grateful for the efforts of Eiberger and others, namely, the late Betty McFerren, who led the efforts of saving South Table Mountain.

“The only thing we did,” Parker said referring to the Save the Mesas group, “was pick up the torch where they left it.”

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