Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Wake-Up Call: Remembering John Parr and Sandy Widener

In the 21 months since John Parr, Sandy Widener and their daughter, Chase Parr, were killed in a horrific car accident, I've trained myself not to grab the phone to call Sandy, a wonderful writer and college pal who was one of the founders of Westword, to hoot over some journalistic dust-up. And I've finally removed the Rolodex card devoted to Parr, the political strategist who was working for then-Governor Dick Lamm when Sandy met him on an interview, and who remained a go-to guy whenever you wanted a smart take on the local scene -- or just a great conversation.

But still, I found my fingers itching to dial John Parr last Friday, when the location of the 2016 Olympic Games was being decided. He was a key strategist in the quest to stop the 1976 Winter Olympics from coming to Colorado, a move that propelled Lamm to the governor's office and changed the face of this state. For the better.

His good works didn't stop there, of course, and tonight, the Denver Foundation's annual Tribute to Philanthropy will include the presentation of the second annual John Parr and Sandy Widener Civic Leadership Award to Brian Barhaugh, founder of YouthBiz and Project Voyce.

I don't need to call Sandy and John to know they'd be pleased.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun