Denzel F. Hartshorn
Denzel F. “Denny” Hartshorn 79, passed away April 3, 2014, at HopeWest after years living with Parkinson’s Disease.
Denny was born in Fort Collins in 1935.
His formative summers were spent working on his Uncle Denzel’s farm in Longmont, Colo. While there, he first developed the work ethic that endured throughout his life.
Denny attended Colorado A&M prior to the University of Colorado Medical School, graduating in 1960.
He married his first wife, Sue Johnston, in 1957. Between various surgical trainings, he and Sue welcomed Karen and Duane into their family.
Denny was drafted into the Army in 1962, and served in Germany as a flight surgeon. Sadly, Sue passed away after a brief illness, leaving Denny, Karen and Duane in Germany for their last year. Toward the end of his military duty in Heidelberg, he met Barbie Perlmutter, whom he wed in 1966, after she returned to the States.
Denny completed a general surgery residency in Denver before moving to Iowa City to pursue a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. While there from 1967-1970, Denny and Barbie welcomed Becky and Nick. In 1970, the family moved from their Iowa farmhouse to Grand Junction, where Denny established the community’s first ear, nose and throat practice.
Over the next three decades, Denny was instrumental in creating the first EMT training in Grand Junction, teaching medical students through the St. Mary’s Family Practice Residency (where he was recognized as an Outstanding Clinical Instructor), and growing the practice that came to be Colorado West Otolaryngologists. Denny always wanted to be where the action was, whether in a busy head and neck surgery practice, education, or medical leadership.
He served as St. Mary’s Hospital Chief of Staff, a member of the St. Mary’s Hospital Board of Directors, Chief of Surgery, and on the Credentials Committee as Chair. Additionally, he served the State on the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners.
Throughout his career, Denny was recognized and celebrated as a natural leader. He was the recipient of the Silver and Gold Award (the highest alumni award) from University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Lifetime Achievement Award from St. Mary’s Hospital.
Throughout the decades, he remained first and foremost a “physician’s physician,” and treated every patient with humanity and respect.
For all the hours he spent in medicine, Denny hoped he could spend just as many in his passionate pursuits of farming and ranching. He spent time on the acreage surrounding his home in Grand Junction (with its cattle, horses and alfalfa) and a ranch on the East Muddy Creek, where he ran a hunting guide service for 30 years. Denny was as comfortable in the saddle as in surgery and hoped to spend his final days atop a horse.
Despite his passion for medicine and farming, his greatest joy-and what he considered his greatest accomplishment-was his family.
Denny is survived by his wife of 47 years, Barbie; and his children, Karen and Mark Allen of Grand Junction, Colo.; Duane and Julie Hartshorn of Grand Junction, Colo.; Becky and Steve Ela of Hotchkiss, Colo.; Nick and Stephanie Hartshorn of Denver, Colo.; his sister, Debby Pool of Englewood, Colo.; brother-in-law, William and Betty Jo Woollett of Irvine, Calif. Denny and Barbie have 10 grandchildren who will all miss his thundering laugh, mischievous nature, sage advice, and leadership. Denny was the rock of the family and a force to be reckoned with.
A celebration of his life was held April 14, 2014, at the Canyon View Vineyard Church.
Donations may be made to Colorado State University Foundation - Premedica (a pre-med scholarship program) P.O. Box 1870, Fort Collins, Colo., 80522, in memory of Denzel F. Hartshorn or the charity of your choice. ❖