I have deep roots in Fort Collins. I am a third generation native Coloradoan. My grandfather, Ace Gillett, was born in Sterling, Colorado. My mother was born in Fort Morgan, Colorado and moved with her parents to Fort Collins in 1940. Ace Gillett owned the hotel and restaurant business known as the Northern Hotel and Ace Gillett’s Coffee Shop. He subsequently acquired the Armstrong Hotel. My father came to Fort Collins with the Grafe-Callahan Construction Company to build the dams that created Horsetooth Reservoir, the northerly most reservoir of the Colorado-Big Thompson Water Project. He stayed at the Northern Hotel where he met my Mother. My parents moved to Kremmling, Colorado with the Construction Company to construct the dams that created the reservoirs forming the western slope water collection portion of the Colorado-Big Thompson Water Project. I was born in Kremmling. We moved back to Fort Collins in 1953. I have two sisters who also live in the Fort Collins area.
I graduated from Poudre High School in Fort Collins in 1968, tenth in a class of 289. I attended Occidental College in Los Angeles for a year and a half before returning to Fort Collins, graduating from Colorado State University in June, 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with High Distinction.
I graduated from Washington University School of Law in Saint Louis, Missouri in the top 15% of my class in May, 1977. While in law school I wrote for one of the two law reviews, the Urban Law Annual, and had a Comment on “Employment Discrimination and Minority Hiring Goals” and a Note on “School Finance Reform” published in the Annual. I was elected Editor in Chief of the law review my third year.
I was admitted to the Colorado State and Federal Courts in October of 1977 and the United States Supreme Court in May, 1989. I have maintained a Martindale Hubbell AV rating since 1985.
Over the past several years I have taken one class per semester at Colorado State University in Philosophy. I presented four papers at various American Philosophical Conferences and one paper at a conference in Prague on topics in the area of Applied Ethics. Three have been published. I also wrote an unpublished paper on Pacifism that has been cited in two books.
I have been a member of the Board of Directors of the Colorado State University Foundation since 1987 and the Board Chair since 1991. Other Boards that I have been a member of include: the Advisory Board of Colorado State University Art Museum, 2011-2014 (President of the Advisory Board 2013-2014); the Family Center/La Familia 1996-2012 (President 2012-2013); Open Stage Theater Board 2007-2012; the Downtown Development Authority of Fort Collins, 1988-1994 (Chairman 1991-1993); One West Art Center, Fort Collins, Colorado, February 1993-1995 (Chairman 1994-1995); the Affordable Housing Consortium 1993-1995; and the Museum of Contemporary Art 2006-2007. Although I am obviously invested in the arts, I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with the Colorado State University Foundation and the Family Center, a bilingual early childhood education center in Fort Collins.
I lettered in golf at Poudre High School and Occidental College, ran 5 marathons during the late 1980s including the Boston Marathon, and participated in the Age-Group World Duathlon (run-bike-run) Champions in 1995 (Cancun, Mexico) and 1996 (Ferrara, Italy). Now I do yoga.
My spouse, Christy, and her family moved from Nederland, Colorado to Fort Collins in 1949. They started Sterling Sand and Gravel Company and Sterling Paving Company. Christy received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1971 and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in 1988, both from Colorado State University. She teaches art and is the curator of the Hatton Gallery at Colorado State University. Christy and I met in high school. We recently celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary. We have no children, but have a number of wonderful nieces and nephews.
I have represented the Fort Collins Housing Authority for more than twenty years. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with the Housing Authority and other nonprofit entities in their effort to provide affordable housing in our community.
I have over 40 years’ experience as a legal secretary/assistant and have been with Jim for more than 12 years. I graduated from Our Lady of the Lakes in Waterford, Michigan in 1974. Private Catholic schools did not have extracurricular courses. So during my junior and senior years in high school I also attended vocational school where I took secretarial courses. I worked for my father’s real estate company at night and on weekends. Upon graduation from high school, I started working at the law firm of Booth, Patterson, Lee, Karlstrom and Steckling in Pontiac, Michigan. I was legal secretary to John Steckling. John’s philosophy was the more he could teach me, the more he could play golf. In 1979, I moved to Fort Collins to be closer to my sisters who had already moved to Colorado. I was hired by Hasler & Fonfara. I worked with Joe Fonfara until 1982 when I moved to Denver and worked at several different law firms in permanent and temporary positions. In 2000, I moved back to Fort Collins and took a position with Liggett, Smith & Williams. In June of 2003, I started working with Todd Rogers and Jim Martell and have worked with Jim ever since then.
I enjoy spending my vacations in Northern Michigan where my family has several cabins on an inland lake. I enjoy swimming, kayaking, fishing, long walks and lazy days reading on the beach.