Former Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News journalist
Tom Gavin, 91, a longtime newspaperman and Denver Post columnist whose career also included work for the former Rocky Mountain News, died Aug. 21, 2016, at his home in Denver. He covered Denver and the Rocky Mountain Region for more than four decades, including work in The Post’s Washington, D.C., bureau.
Gavin was well-known to his co-workers and readers for his reporting skills that turned out “clear, concise copy” while focusing on the “viewpoint of a community.”
He was born in Oakland, Calif., in 1925. He grew up in La Jara, Colo., with his paternal grandmother, Catherine McCunniff. After her death, he moved to Denver as a teenager to live with his father, Thomas F. Gavin, an electrician, and his stepmother. He attended Cathedral High School in Denver where he met his future wife, Winnie Oberhauser. He also worked for a time as a ranch hand in Kremmling, and during World War II served in the Navy as an aviation machinist, working on PBY aircraft. Using the G.I. Bill, he went on to graduate from the University of Denver.
In 1947, Gavin married Winnie and joined the staff of the Rocky Mountain News, covering the police beat and the Colorado Statehouse. In 1961, he was hired by The Denver Post to cover politics and the Statehouse and wrote his first column, “Politics and other Diversions.” From 1973-1977, Gavin returned to the Rocky to serve as assistant managing editor and managing editor. From 1977-1981 he was an associate editor and national correspondent for The Post in its Washington, D.C., bureau, after which the couple returned to Denver for the newspaper, where he wrote his column until 1995. Gavin was also a longtime member and former president of the Denver Press Club.
He was preceded in death by his wife in 2006. Gavin is survived by his son, Dennis Gavin, of Aberdeen, S.D.; two daughters, Kathy Manfred, of Cimarron, Colo., and Jennifer Gavin Bettelheim, of Olney, Md.; two grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. A wake was scheduled at the Denver Press Club for Sept. 24.
Boulder Daily Camera journalist
Julie Gordon, 41, of Cupertino, Calif., whose writing appeared in many magazines and newspapers including the Daily Camera in Boulder, died Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. She was born in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 24, 1974. After graduating from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, she earned her master’s degree in journalism at the University of Colorado. Gordon’s writing earned her awards from organizations including the Colorado Associated Press and the National Federation of Press Women.
She is survived by her husband, Mike McCoy, whom she married on June 22, 2008; a daughter, Amanda; her parents, Meraly Brown and Ken Gordon; three sisters, Amy, Debra and Natalie; and two brothers, Andrew and Josh. A memorial service took place on Aug. 18 at congregation Har Hashem.
Former Denver Post reporter, editor
Carl Miller, 77, a longtime newspaperman, former Denver Post editor and press secretary for Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm in the mid-1970s, died Aug. 5, 2016, at his home in Denver. After a turn as city editor at the former Colorado Springs Sun, Miller joined The Post staff in 1977 as a Capitol bureau reporter, going on to work as a columnist, editorial page editor and political editor during the 1980s. Then as Capitol bureau chief, he led a six-person Statehouse team covering the Colorado Legislature, governor’s office and other politics. He was known as a high-energy, enthusiastic journalist.
In 1990 Miller began a second career as regional director of governmental relations, overseeing lobbying efforts at Colorado Blue Cross Blue Shield, which became Anthem Inc. After 17 years in the insurance business, he retired in 2008. The following year, he and his wife, Bonnie Sherman, bought Denver Divers, a scuba-diving business the family still runs in the Cherry Creek North neighborhood.
Miller is survived by his wife; two daughters, Ali Miller and Brittany Miller, both of Denver; and a son, Troy Miller, of Colorado Springs. To celebrate his life, a “memorial roast” took place at the Denver Press Club on Aug. 21, followed by a potluck dinner at Denver Divers.
Denver Post reporter
Colleen O’Connor, 60, a reporter with The Denver Post, died Wednesday night, Aug. 31, after being struck by a vehicle while crossing a street in central Denver. Having previously worked for The Dallas Morning News, she joined the Post staff in July 2004. She worked as a features reporter, on the anchor team (working on major enterprise reporting), as a general assignment reporter, as a food writer and as a contributor of book reviews. She also wrote a blog called “The Den,” and was most recently on the newspaper’s city desk and Now Team.
O’Connor was well-known, respected and loved by her colleagues as an accomplished, compassionate, skilled journalist who covered all areas of the community, often taking on stories of a sensitive nature. From Southern California, she graduated from the University of Redlands with a degree in English and communications. She went on to work as a freelance journalist in Germany, and The Dallas Morning News in the mid-1990s. Returning to California, O’Connor freelanced for seven years for magazines including People prior to joining The Denver Post.
She is survived by her mother, who resides in California; and a sister, Carol O’Casey, of Bend, Ore., She was preceded in death by a brother.