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Leonard Arnold

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Leonard Arnold Obituary
Leonard Joseph Arnold, 69, passed away at his home in Westminster, Colorado, on September 15, 2016, after a valiant fight with lung disease. Leonard was born in San Diego, and grew up in Colorado Springs, graduating from Wasson High School in 1965. In 1969, he married his high school sweetheart, Judy Keeton. They celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary two weeks before his death. After high school, he attended Colorado State University, and graduated in 1970 with a degree in Construction Management. He began his career at GE Johnson Construction in Colorado Springs in 1970, achieving the position of Vice President before leaving in 1979 to work for Hensel Phelps Construction in Greeley. During most of his years with Hensel Phelps, Leonard led the Work Procurement group, proposing and obtaining contracts for many large design/build projects such as the Denver International Airport, Denver Convention Center and Elitch Gardens. After leaving Hensel Phelps as a Vice President in 1994, Leonard started his own firm, Elk Ridge Consultants. He built an upscale condominium development along the Estes Park Golf Course, and single family homes in the Estes Valley before moving his focus to building facilities for charter schools along the Front Range. With his friend Teri Oates, he assisted the schools with arranging financing, finding locations, and managing the design and construction process as an owner's representative. Some of his projects include Woodrow Wilson Academy, Flagstaff Academy, Highline Academy, Crown Pointe Academy, Lincoln Academy and Global Village Academy. Although Leonard's professional success was important to him, his heart truly belonged to the world of auto racing. He began building stock race cars during high school, and then developed an interest in vintage racing. He restored many cars, selling some to other enthusiasts and racing some himself in the Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing association. His professional world and his racing world met in 1990, when Hensel Phelps Construction was chosen to build the track for the Denver Grand Prix Indy Car event in downtown Denver. There he met a young driver who would change Leonard's focus to building a race car that would set the record time to the top of the mountain in the International Pike's Peak Hill Climb. Leonard built a team and open-wheel car, driven by Paul Dallenbach that set the overall world record in 1993, with seven division wins, and two overall victories through the years. After developing lung disease, Leonard was no longer able to attend the race, due to the altitude, but continued supporting his friends Kevin Kidwell and Spencer Steele by building custom carbon fiber body pieces for their Hill Climb team until the week before his death. Leonard adored his three grandchildren, Brennen, Declan and Eva, and enjoyed taking them on road trips such as fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, attending Lego conferences in Seattle, and exploring cities like Kansas City, San Diego, Minneapolis and Branson. He was a big part of their lives, and he will be deeply missed. Leonard's generosity, big heart and Christian spirit touched many people throughout his life. He was the first to offer help when a rival race car team had a problem the night before a race - often pitching in to help make repairs, donating parts, and always freely offering his wealth of knowledge. He was known for finding work for people who needed it, and sticking with them as a mentor. He sometimes quietly made rent payments, sent Christmas gifts to families having a tough year, hired attorneys for legal help, paid medical bills and arranged car repairs. He especially had a heart for the homeless, and gave generously and often with a word of encouragement. Memorial contributions may be made in Leonard's name to Cold Weather Care, a program in Adams County that houses, feeds, comforts and supports the homeless in area churches from October-April. Information about this essential program can be found at https://coldweather care.org. Leonard is survived by his wife, Judy Arnold, his daughter and son-in-law Alyssa and Christopher Ericksen, and grandchildren Brennen, Declan and Eva Ericksen, of Westminster, Colorado, as well as his sister and brother-in-law Patricia and Ronald Oldham of Bemidji, Minnesota. A Celebration of Leonard's life will be held on Wednesday, October 12 at 11:00am at Northern Hills Church, 5061 E. 160th Ave (Highway 7) in Brighton, Colorado. See www.allnutt.com to send a message to Leonard's family.
Published in Estes Park Trail-Gazette on Sept. 30, 2016
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