Jim Disney, former Larimer County commissioner and painter, dies – Loveland Reporter-Herald

Loveland artist and former Larimer County commissioner James Disney died on Monday. He was 82 years old.

An avid hiker and mountaineer, Disney was known for his love of Rocky Mountain National Park and founded the Larimer Mountain Club in the 1970s to share it with like-minded explorers, according to Ron Tuttle, a Loveland resident and original member. of the group.

“His real love was the outdoors, there is no doubt about it,” Tuttle said.

Disney battled cancer and in late October sent a letter to fellow Larimer Mountain Club members announcing he would be entering a hospice after two years of chemotherapy.

“A lot of these treatments have had a physical impact on my body and my abilities,” Disney wrote. “After meeting with several of the wonderful doctors and others to consider the remaining options for the future, I chose the hospice. This choice means stopping chemotherapy treatments and letting the cancer run its course while doing everything possible to provide a comfortable and productive end. “

Funeral arrangements are pending at Viegut Funeral Home in Loveland.

According to Disney’s son David Disney, even the funeral director knew who his father was, since he was county commissioner.

“I think he was one of the most curious men on the planet. He was motivated by the curiosity to be in the mountains, what it was like to go from point A to point B, what it looked like up there.

The young Disney was taken on outdoor adventures even as a baby, being carried in a backpack on steep trails and changing diapers on mountain peaks.

Despite his joy in nature, Disney said his father enjoyed spending time with people, and his studio was somewhat of a cultural hub in the early 1970s.

“He was curious about people, what makes them tick,” Disney said. “He wanted to make as many friends as possible and he has done so all his life.”

Disney’s love for painting endured and his partner Marianne Tucker wrote in the same letter that he was working on a painting titled “The Recall”.

Tucker could not be contacted for this item.

In 2014, he was commissioned to paint the Rocky Mountain National Park Centennial Celebration poster, telling the Reporter-Herald: “For 50 years, I have been fortunate enough to share my love of Mountain National Park. Rockies with my paintings and photographs, so having my artwork on the official centennial poster is a great honor.

As the first Open Lands visual artist for County Larimer, he painted a landscape of Hagues Peak, the highest mountain in County Larimer. The painting is part of the Larimer County Collection.

During his two terms, he was known to have worked on establishing the open land acquisition program, environmentally friendly land use planning and long-term transportation planning, according to his website. Web. In 1996, he received the Environmental Stewardship Award from Rocky Mountain National Park for his work with citizens and local, state and federal governments to permanently ban commercial tourist flights over the park.

Disney is said to have encyclopedic knowledge of Rocky Mountain National Park and, according to Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally, even recognized some trees he saw in his Facebook posts. He has climbed Longs Peak nearly 100 times and has also climbed Denali, the largest mountain in North America, in Alaska.

“He showed us trails that only he knew and occasionally recited poetry as we went down,” said Betsy Mosehauer, president of the Larimer Mountain Club. “He could name all the mountains in the Front Range and knew a lot of the history of (Rocky Mountain National Park). He lived a busy life and left a rich legacy.

“He was sort of one of those larger-than-life people,” said Larimer County Commissioner Kristin Stephens, who was once married to Disney’s son David. “He was a mountaineer when it wasn’t as popular as a sport in the ’60s and’ 70s. He always had the spirit of adventure.

Shadduck-McNally said she would correspond frequently with Disney on a variety of topics related to both the county and their shared love of the outdoors. He always signed the same way: “Happy Trails”.

“I hope where he is now he continues to have happy leads,” said Shadduck-McNally.

Ken Amundson of BizWest contributed to this article.

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