Josh Comfort
Comfort, Josh

Josh Comfort (born Joe Robert and known as Joe Bob through his young adult years) embodied creativity, curiosity, and generosity throughout his seventy-seven years of life. In the wake of his unexpected passing, all who loved him remember his adventurous spirit, passion for art and design, commitment to social justice, and extraordinary ability to make conversation with absolutely anyone about absolutely anything.
Born in 1943 in Nashville, Tennessee, Josh moved multiple times with his parents (Richard and Winona) and three siblings (Hugh, Beverly, and Marilee). He attended Amherst College in Massachusetts; studied in Puerto Rico; served in the Peace Corps in Brazil with his first wife, Randy Lee; and obtained a master's degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania before making Denver his home in 1970. He and Randy raised their children (Megan, Justin, Mathew, and Loren) in Park Hill in a house filled with tutus, an assortment of musical instruments, boisterous wrestling in the basement, and a continual parade of dogs, guinea pigs, and other cherished pets.
Josh Comfort Architecture was established in 1991, just in time to play an important role in Denver's growth during the economic boom. Josh's love of - and expertise in - the restoration of historic buildings made him ideally suited to help spearhead the blossoming of the lower downtown area. His key projects included the Ice House and Acme Lofts, the Sugar Building, and the renovation of the Lowenstein Theater into a new home for the Tattered Cover bookstore. Right until June 2021, Josh was actively involved in various design and arts efforts in the city that he loved, serving as a commissioner on the Denver Commission of Cultural Affairs and as a board member of the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District. He also volunteered for the Rape Assistance and Awareness Program and helped create the Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy Society's Walk and Roll to Cure FSHD fundraising event.
1991 was an auspicious year for Josh, as this was also when he met Kate Culligan, who went on to become his beloved companion of 30 years. They married in 1994, with Kate's children Emmett and Mollie alongside Josh's in the wedding party. Josh and Kate's love only grew stronger over the years as they traveled off the beaten paths in Europe, South America, and Asia; supported the arts in Denver and Taos, New Mexico (their adopted second home); renovated an array of houses; mentored young people; threw parties at which the food, drink, and conversation abundantly flowed; and enjoyed each other's company so deeply that even after being confined at home for over a year during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of their favorite activities in 2021 was to curl up on the couch together. A highlight of Josh and Kate's travels was their 2019 trek on the Camino de Santiago in Portugal and Spain, during which they walked 116 miles of the sacred route.
In addition to family, conviviality, art, and architecture, Josh will be remembered for his love for music. He played the trumpet and French horn in high school and led the marching band as drum major. As an adult he transitioned to singing, taking voice lessons, joining a quartet wryly named The Fourgone Conclusion, and performing in many Opera Colorado productions, including Aida, Don Giovanni, and Sweeney Todd. Kate and his children never tired of listening to him sing - or of teasing him about his elaborate makeup and costumes when he performed.
Unsurprisingly, Josh turned to music for solace during the pandemic: he took video lessons to learn to play the cello, practicing on the same instrument played by his grandfather. His characteristic resilience came through as he faced the challenges of 2020: he delighted in "visiting" museums and "attending" performances virtually, partook in Zoom cocktail hours and parties, hiked in the mountains, and even participated in an outdoor, week-long stone carving workshop in Taos. As soon as they were vaccinated, he and Kate went to Brooklyn to see their grandsons and then travelled to Hawaii, where Josh had never been. Undeterred by a global pandemic, Josh's final months and days were filled with laughter, connection, exuberance, and a determination to live every day to its fullest. He brought a sense of affirmation, possibility, and boundless compassion to every interaction, and we miss him beyond words.
A Celebration of Life will be held in August. To honor Josh's memory, his family will be commissioning a work of public art. To receive details about how to donate to this effort, please contact [email protected]

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Published by Denver Post on Jun. 27, 2021.
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13 Entries
I am saddened to hear of Josh Comfort's death. I knew him 20 years ago when I worked (at a very junior level) for a developer client of his, for which he designed affordable housing. I remember him as incredibly accomplished at his craft, as an elegant, well-read, cultured, and well-read man. An architect as successful and accomplished as he was could have treated a junior person like me like I was nothing, but instead he was unfailingly courteous, engaging, and kind. Clearly he lived life to the fullest but I wish he could have enjoyed life, including the end of the pandemic longer. My deepest condolences to his family.
Jake Wegmann
Friend
July 26, 2021
we had the pleasure of working with Josh on several architecture projects around Denver over the last 10 years. Josh was a champion of the arts and believed in the artist and that artistic practices could make for a better world. He was integral in making the most of these opportunities with us and we will miss him dearly. thank you Josh!
tres birds
Work
July 8, 2021
I knew Josh was a dear, sweet person when he agreed to sing at our wedding and learn new songs even though he hadn't been my uncle for very long. And I knew you'd found your person when one of the most romantic pictures from our wedding was of you, leaning back onto Josh, his arms wrapped around you, both of you staring out at the ocean, completely in love. I know that Josh's love will be with you always, Kate, and your whole family is here for you too, surrounding you with love.
Jennifer Salamon
July 5, 2021
I had the pleasure of knowing Josh in the early years of Opera Colorado. He was a gentle, kind and very talented man! He left a positive touch with everyone he knew and will be missed. Sandra Corriere
Sandra Corriere
June 30, 2021
Josh and I had the pleasure of sitting next to each other in the dressing rooms, back stage, at Opera Colorado. Everything written here about him is lovely and true to Josh's nature. I've always enjoyed our conversations while waiting for our call to the stage. We frequently used to bump into each other out and about the town and I've always felt a peaceful connection with him on every occasion. Like many others touched by his kind and gentle spirit, I will be thinking of him especially in these next days and weeks to come.
Michele Di Nuovo
Friend
June 30, 2021
Dear Kate, Emmett and Mollie, I am so saddened to hear of Josh's loss. My thoughts are with you all. With love, Cynthia
Cynthia Stone
Other
June 29, 2021
I had no idea that Josh accomplished even a quarter of all he did in his incredibly well-lived life. I knew you found someone special, Kate, when my "new" uncle agreed to sing at our wedding. He and Becky sang so beautifully together and it was truly a labor of love. I also knew you'd found your person when one of the most romantic photos from our wedding was of you and Josh on the beach, his arms wrapped around you, both of you looking out at the ocean, completely in love.
Jennifer Salamon
June 28, 2021
Beautifully written and truly honors him by sharing with everyone the depth and breadth of his amazingness and what an incredible human he was. Such a huge, huge loss for Kate and her family, for Josh's family and his children and grandchildren, for all of his friends and for all the lives he touched through all that he did and all that he was. My deepest sympathy and sorrow for his loss. May his memory forever be a blessing.
Mira Simon
Friend
June 28, 2021
This tribute perfectly captures who Josh was, while on this earth. Josh was one of the most GENUINE people I have ever met. I loved our conversations when we were together. He was incredibly talented, in everything he did. Most of all, Josh was incredible to my Aunt Kate.....and our family. We can be a lot to take when together, and he fit right in. We will miss and honor you forever.
Ryan Lynch
Family
June 28, 2021
Josh led a wonderful life and was such a good man in every way. Our kids and Grandkids loved being with Josh. One of the side benefits of attending so many Bronco´s games was being able to share more time with Josh. Kate and Josh were an incredible couple that truly cared for one another and enjoyed traveling together or simply spending time together. Their interests were perfectly aligned. Thanks Josh , on behalf of the Lynch Family ,for taking such good care of Kate. These last 30 years were the happiest of her life! May you Rest In Peace, Josh ! As a result of your good deeds and the exemplary life you led our Faith teaches us you are in Heaven, watching over and protecting Kate . Our thoughts and prayers are to you and for you. John and Cathy Lynch
Cathy and John Lynch
Family
June 28, 2021
Dear Megan and family, I am so sorry to know that your father has passed away. I remember him well. I send my condolences and hopes for your peace at this time. I hope "comfort" comes to you as time passes. Thinking of you, Megan, Matt, and all of your family. Ellen Maresh
Ellen Maresh
June 28, 2021
My deepest sympathy for the loss of beloved fellow Opera Colorado chorister, Josh Comfort. He was a great singer, delightful to perform with, and a friend to all.
Debbie Pierce
Friend
June 27, 2021
Brooks H Waldman
June 27, 2021
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