The man who opened the Window has died

Wilbur Flachman was a tireless newsman and community booster

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A longtime mainstay of the Denver Metro Area publishing scene and founder of the Westminster Window, Wilbur Flachman died last week at the age of 83, following complications from pancreatic cancer.

Flachman is survived by his wife Marilyn Flachman — the two celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in August; his daughter Angela “Angie” Flachman; son-in-law Paul Johnson; sister Kathryn Farkas of Wheat Ridge; sister Alberta Waldmeier (Richard) of Centennial; sister-in-law Shirley Flachman of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and grandchildren Shelton and Hannah; brothers-in-law Donald Brudi (Judy), Gary Brudi; sisters-in-law June Dittmar, Sandra Weaver (Bill) of Illinois; and special friend Jacques Loui (Suzie) of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Flachman was preceded in death by his parents Ralph and Georgia and his brother Leonard Flachman.

For more than five decades, Flachman made Westminster his home, and championed both his community, and community newspapers.

“He highly valued community, and community newspapers,” Angie Flachman said.

Family lore has it that Wilbur and Marilyn were just passing through Westminster, on their way to a job interview in Monte Vista, but something led them to stick around a while. Wilbur landed a job at the Westminster Journal, and Marilyn began teaching at Westminster High School, and the two ended up spending the following decades hand-in-hand working on countless community service endeavours.

In 1978 Flachman founded the Westminster Window, which garnered major journalistic awards in its very first year of publication.

“He was just really fun to work with,” recalled former Westminster Window editor Mikkel Kelly. “He kept that old typewriter of his going, well into the digital age.”

It was always a treat, Kelly said, to receive a story tip (typed out, naturally) from Flachman.

Beyond publishing the Window, Flachman also founded The Publishing House, which publishes marketing, trade and magazines, including the in-theater programs for the Denver center for the Performing arts. He served several years on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Press Association, and was elected the organization’s 100th president in 1977.

Beyond the world of publishing, Flachman’s other passion was for horses, and horse packing trips. According to his family, he spent time exploring Colorado wilderness, as well as trails in Arizona and Utah, logging more than 10,000 miles in the saddle over more than four decades.

Angie Flachman said the activity was often a way for her father to spend time with friends, or an opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause by auctioning off a trip. Those trips were also a chance to bond, she said.

“He was just retelling the story a few weeks ago ... I was either three or four when we went on our first trip,” Angie Flachman said. “He just set me in the saddle, and we started to ride.”

That hobby, morphed into yet another business for Flachman, who opened Clapsaddle Farms near Hudson, Colorado, for breeding, training and boarding horses.

Flachman was also a tireless supporter of the arts, having been involved with, among other organizations and efforts, with the Westminster Community Arts Series, the Westminster Rotary, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and the Adams County Cultural Council.

One of his major contributions to Rotary was by participating greatly with the Rotary International Student Exchange Program. His family counts that during his 53-year tenure as a Rotarian, he and his wife hosted 24 exchange students from around the world.

“I don’t think of myself as an only child,” Angie Flachman said. “I think of myself as having siblings all over the world.”

Visitation will be at Horan & McConaty Arvada Family Chapel, 7577 W 80th Avenue, Arvada, Colorado, Thursday, October 1, 5-8 p.m. and Friday, October 2, 9-11 a.m. In observance of COVID-19 regulations, a religious service will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts may be directed to Westminster Legacy Foundation/Archival Center, 4800 W. 92nd Avenue, Westminster, Colorado, 80031 or Westminster Rotary Foundation Scholarships, PO Box 100, Meade, Colorado, 80542.


 

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