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James D. Reidhead

1949 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
James D. Reidhead Obituary
James D. Reidhead

Jim Reidhead, 67, of Fort Collins, died at home in the early hours of November 1, 2016, from complications of treatment for leukemia.

Jim was born on April 19, 1949, in West Palm Beach, Florida, to Paris and Marjorie Reidhead. He grew up in Florida, New Jersey, and on a farm in Catskill Mountains of New York. He graduated from Cornell University in 1971 with a degree in General Agriculture. He and his wife, Donna, were married before their senior year at Cornell. After graduation, Jim and Donna moved to Colorado where Jim built turkey barns while Donna went to graduate school.

In 1972 Jim started The Cupboard with his partner Carey Hewitt. It remains a mainstay on College Avenue in Old Town today. Jim went on to restore several buildings in Old Town, including one at 235 Linden Street where he and Donna lived upstairs for several years.

Jim was part of the original Old Town Square project working with Gene Mitchell to bring this area of Fort Collins to a new life. He helped to form the Downtown General Improvement District and the Downtown Development Authority. To celebrate the opening of the first downtown parking garage, he made an appearance as Captain Renovator, along with General Parking (the late Dick Beardmore). Jim was also called the Old Town Busy-body by some…

Jim worked as the Director of Land Planning and Marketing at Phantom Canyon Ranch, helping to preserve over 10,000 acres of land, including one of the last remaining road-less canyons in Colorado.

At Colorado State University, Jim began a program of technical building preservation and community development where he worked with cities and towns throughout the state.

In 1997 Jim started the Rural Land Use Center in Larimer County, an innovative conservation-oriented land development program.

In 2007 Jim was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. He underwent chemotherapy at Poudre Valley Hospital, and then a stem cell transplant at Presbyterian St. Luke's Hospital in Denver in 2008. These treatments saved his life but left him with complications of Graft Versus Host Disease and other medical adventures that filled file cabinets with records (and bills!).

Many doctors and medical staff in Fort Collins and Denver worked very hard to allow Jim to live more than nine years from his original diagnosis. We would especially like to thank Dr. Miho Scott, Oncologist; Dr. Christie Reimer, Internal Medicine; Dr. Jacob Ong, Infectious Diseases; Jessica Goodwin, Nurse; all from University of Colorado Health; Dr. Peter McSweeney, Transplant Specialist; and Sarah Meissner, Transplant Nurse Coordinator; from the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute.

Jim Reidhead was a man of many talents. He was a self-taught maker of furniture, and he died in the bed he made by hand for his new marriage. He and his wife enjoyed backpacking in Colorado and canoeing in wilderness areas of Ontario, Canada. Jim loved to undertake difficult problems and to bring diverse people together. Until his last days he was planting ideas in the minds of his friends to tackle issues like land planning, the urban-wildlife interface, and downtown parking troubles, along with other philosophical, germane, or silly topics. He was a founding member of No Holds Barred, the Tuesday Night Beer-swilling Group (at Coopersmith's), and the No Expectations Philosophy Club.

Jim was a kind and gentle person, a loving husband, and an amazing father. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Donna Reidhead; two sons: Ben Reidhead and his wife Erin, their three daughters Caroline, Annelise, and Lydia, all of Cleveland Heights, Ohio; and Chris Reidhead and his fiancée Taylor Dittman of Fort Collins. Also surviving are his mother, Marjorie Nash Reidhead of Ohio; two brothers, Paris Reidhead of New York and David Reidhead of Delaware; and two sisters, Ginny Teit of Ohio and Julia Reidhead of New York City. His father, Paris Reidhead and one sister, Sarah Armstrong, preceded him in death.

All through his life, Jim worked to make things better - in Fort Collins, in Larimer County, in Colorado - for the cities, for the land and for the people he met. He will be greatly missed by many.

A celebration of Jim's life will be held April 19, 2017. Please check for more information or to leave online condolences for the family. Cards or letters will also be welcomed by the family at home - 707 W. Mountain Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80521

If friends wish to honor Jim's memory, contributions would be welcomed at the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority - earmarked for Downtown Holiday Lights or Downtown Flowers - 19 Old Town Square, Suite 230, Fort Collins, CO 80524 or (970) 484-2020.
Published in The Coloradoan on Nov. 6, 2016
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