Carlos Illescas, two-time Pulitzer Prize team reporter for The Denver Post

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Carlos Illescas

Carlos Illescas, an award-winning Denver Post reporter who covered the Aurora theater and Columbine High School shootings, died recently at age 54. His body was found at his Arvada home by a friend on the evening of Dec. 24, 2017.

Illescas spent 19 years at The Post, covering nearly every major event in the state, from tragic shootings, fires and floods to significant criminal trials. Among his thousands of bylined articles, he also covered local city council meetings and education policy.

He began working at The Post in 1997 after time at newspapers in Aspen and Fort Worth, Texas. He first covered education, then police and politics, breaking news across the state, and as a news editor for a time. He was part of the team that covered the Columbine High School shootings, honored in 2000 with the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Reporting, and a decade later another team that won in 2013, also for Breaking News Reporting, for coverage of the Aurora movie theater tragedy. He left The Post in the summer of 2016 after taking a buyout.

He was born in Los Angeles and lived for a short time with his family in Guatemala before moving to Rawlins, Wyo. He was a member of Rawlins High School’s 1982 state championship basketball team before going on to graduate from Colorado State University. He loved sports, the mountains, camping, fishing and his dogs. Illescas is survived by his father, stepmother, two sisters, and an uncle. He was preceded in death by his mother and a sister. A memorial service was planned.

Lawrence G. Weiss, longtime editorial writer for The Denver Post

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Lawrence G. Weiss

Lawrence G. Weiss – a well-known journalist and public affairs advisor who was an editorial writer for The Denver Post from 1958-1975 – died Jan. 10, 2018, in Boulder, Colo., at age 97. His official obituary noted that his family “would prefer that donations be sent to the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University and that the recipients of the donations be print newspaper journalists.”

Weiss was born Nov. 29, 1920, in Chicago to Nathan H. and Anna Ettelson Weiss. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1942. He spent an additional year at Harvard as a Nieman Fellow, 1948-1949. He married Rita M. Shapiro in Boston in June 1942. He was a reporter for The Boston Herald, a writer for The New York Times and a special assistant to the Secretary of Labor in Washington, D.C., prior to moving to Boulder in 1954.

In Colorado, Weiss taught journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder before moving to the editorial page of The Denver Post. He also continued to teach evening honors seminars at the university on “The Press and Society” and “James Joyce and the Modern World” for 18 years. He left The Post in 1975 to take a job as special assistant to the governor of Colorado. From 1977 until his retirement in 1985, Weiss served as director of public affairs for the Colorado and the Denver bar associations.

He is survived by his wife; a daughter, Carolyn Judith Weiss, of Boulder; a son, Jonathan Lawrence Weiss, of Interlaken, N.Y.; a sister, Roslyn Issacs, of Wilmette, Ill.; three grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Franklin D. Brown, former mailroom supervisor for The Denver Post

Franklin D. “Frank” Brown, 85, died Dec. 17, 2017. He was born Nov. 9, 1932, in Omaha, Neb., named after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He served in the U.S. Navy (1951-1955), stationed in San Diego, Calif.

After his service, he and his wife Darlene returned to their hometown where he worked in carpentry and then for the Omaha World-Herald newspaper. In 1965, the couple and their two daughters moved to Denver, and he began working as supervisor in the mailroom for The Denver Post. He retired in 1988. Brown and his wife enjoyed RV traveling, campground hosting and wintering in South Texas. He also played golf and tennis, fished and skied, and biked into his 80s.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Darlene; daughters Sharon Dahlinger and Karen Waltemeyer; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. A private service took place at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, with a Celebration of Life also planned. Memorial donations may be made to Paralyzed Veterans Association or The Denver Hospice.

Father Daniel Flaherty, former editor, business manager with Denver Catholic Register

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Daniel Flaherty

Father Daniel Joseph Flaherty died Dec. 31, 2017, in Wheat Ridge. Amid his services at many parishes and in several capacities over his six decades as a priest, he also worked at the Denver Catholic Register as editor, associate business manager and business manager. The newspaper was his first assignment as a priest, and during his work there he also served in residence at St. Anthony of Padua and Holy Family parishes.

A Denver native and Colorado resident for most of his life, Flaherty was born in Denver on July 8, 1926, to Daniel and Jennie Flaherty, both deceased. He attended grade school at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School, Regis High School, Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and St. Thomas Seminary in Denver (1948-1954). He also served in the United States Army Air Forces.

He was ordained to the priesthood on May 29, 1954, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by Archbishop Urban J. Vehr. He was assistant pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Denver and Holy Trinity Parish, Colorado Springs. He was administrator pro-tem at St. Catherine Parish, Iliff, and Sacred Heart Parish, Peetz. He was also pastor of Our Lady of the Mountains Parish, Estes Park; Spirit of Peace Parish, Longmont, and its mission parish in Lyons; St. Mark Church in Westminster; and Sacred Heart of Jesus in Boulder.

In addition to his work at Denver Catholic Register, Flaherty was co-director, Adult Education, for the Colorado Springs Education Center; coordinator, Adult Religious Education, for the Denver area; and director, Continuing Education for Priests. He was granted retirement status on June 11, 1997.

He is survived by a niece, Mary Crumbaker; two nephews, Allan (Beth) Crumbaker, and Daniel Crumbaker; and great nieces Lauren Crumbaker and Leah (Travis) Schafhausen. Funeral home services were provided by the Archdiocese of Denver Mortuary. A vigil service took place on Jan. 4 at St. Louis Catholic Church, Louisville, and a funeral mass on Jan. 5 at Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver, with interment at Mount Olivet Cemetery.

Grace Mary Luckasen, former Littleton Independent columnist

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Grace Mary Luckasen

Grace Mary Luckasen died Jan. 14, 2018, at age 99. She was born on June 4, 1918, in Bismarck, N.D., to John N. and Lilias Roherty. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at the College of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minn., in 1939, and soon thereafter married Wilfred L. Luckasen on Jan. 17, 1942.

The couple had three sons, the first born while her husband was stationed overseas during World War II. After her children were grown, she went to work as an administrative assistant for Chicago Bridge & Iron. She also wrote a column for her local newspaper, the Littleton Independent.

Luckasen took care of her husband as he fought cancer. After his death in 1987, she traveled the world as a member of the Silverado Club. She also spent her life involved with the Catholic Church, and in her later years attended daily mass until her final days.

She is survived by her sons, John (Colleen), Craig, and Gary (Julie); and four grandchildren, Christine, Elizabeth, John and Mary. She was preceded in death by three sisters, Anne, Jean and Margaret. Services were scheduled for Jan. 25 at All Souls Catholic Church, Englewood, with interment next to her husband to follow at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

Thomas Elbert McElroy, former circulation manager for the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post

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Thomas Elbert McElroy

Thomas Elbert McElroy, who retired from circulation management with the former Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post, died Jan. 1, 2018, at age 84 at his home in Westminster, Colo. He was born Easter morning, April 16, 1933. He was a U.S. Navy veteran, stationed during the Korean War on Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. Recently, until he turned 80, he worked driving a USAirport Parking shuttle bus at Denver International Airport.

He is survived by his wife, Cindy, and his constant rescue companion, Freedom. A memorial service took place on Jan. 12 at Olinger Highland Mortuary Chapel, Thornton. Memorial contributions may be made to The National Kidney Foundation. 


Reported by Contributing Editor Cheryl Ghrist. Send your obituary information to her at caghrist@comcast.net.