David Gleason, who with his wife, Terre, owned Bleachers Casual Clothing in Bergen Park for 16 years, died Aug. 13, 2014, at his home in Carlsbad, Calif. He was 69 years old.
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Over many memorable seasons, the Gleasons brought a mix of high-fashion chic and high-country comfort to thousands of Evergreen area residents. Their customer service and attention to detail were legendary. Bleachers was the only clothing store "up the hill" that carried men's fine fashions and brands such as Tommy Bahama and Scott Barber.
"If you wanted a sport coat, a tie or a dress shirt, we were it," said longtime Bleachers employee Jill Fockler.
David Gleason was in charge of the men's department and brought a flair and a true eye for excellence and style to his specialty.
"I first got to know David through the store, but as everyone who gets to know David finds out, there's so much more to share," said Evergreen businessman Tupper Briggs. "We developed a friendship. He was there to sell clothes, but he was my trusted adviser and would not let me buy something that was not appropriate to me. He took the time to find out what looked best on me. He was a dear, dear friend. The other thing - he's the most left-wing individual I ever met, and I loved talking politics with him."
"Evergreen was blessed by his presence, and if Evergreen has a style, I hope it looks like our friend David Gleason," added Tupper's wife, Karla Briggs.
Born Aug. 17, 1944, in Troy, N.Y., and raised near Chicago, Gleason earned a business degree from Northwestern University. He came to Denver in 1968 as a sales rep for Arrow shirts and quickly established himself in retail circles, working with Homer Reed, Aspen Leaf, The Denver and May D&F. His wife, Terre, was fashion coordinator for Joslins department store.
They opened Bleachers in 1993. The Gleasons treated their employees like family, and often hosted them at their home on Upper Bear Creek and later at their home in California.
"He was like a mentor," said Fockler. "His fashion sense was, he made it look easy - 'Oh, I just threw this on' - but it came naturally to him, and he was always thoughtful about what he said, what he wore, how the store was.
"He was always the calm center. We would all be on some girly topic, and he would just drift away to the back of the store: "Look what I have to work with" - joking about all the women. But it was always with a twinkle."
At the store, he never handed out $1 bills in change - always $2 bills and golden Sacagawea coins, a Bleachers signature.
Gleason was active in the community, playing on the Bleachers-sponsored Evergreen men's softball team, joining Leadership Evergreen and supporting the Mountain Area Land Trust. He took photography courses at Red Rocks Community College. He was an avid Rockies fan and closed the store to attend the first Opening Day.
His passion for current events made him a regular at the Oxford Hotel's monthly gathering to hear guest speakers. One of his favorites was Buck O'Neil, the first baseman-manager from baseball's Negro Leagues. Talking to the living legend after his speech was a thrill for Gleason.
After many successful years, the couple decided to close Bleachers in 2009, sell their Evergreen home and relocate to sunny Southern California. Their new life was made more lively by the rescue adoption of Kona, their beloved standard poodle, and weekly yoga classes brought them a whole new group of friends.
Gleason also took up golf and, true to his nature, he wanted to achieve a high level of proficiency - while looking good doing it. He had the looking good part down pat, but his quest for perfection continued up until a few months before his death.
Gleason is survived by his wife, Terre, a son, David, a sister, Jeanne, a brother, Bob, and their dog, Kona.
Published in Canyon Courier from Aug. 27 to Sept. 3, 2014