December 1, 1929 ~ June 15, 2019
Born in: Alliance, NE
Resided in: Castle Pines, CO
A devoted mother and grandmother, Barbara Louise Grove Pellegren of Castle Pines passed away peacefully on June 15th after a brief illness. A real “Annie Oakley,” Barbara grew up in the west a true cowgirl, becoming a sharpshooter and expert trick rider. Moving to the city in her teen years, Barbara played the trumpet in the marching band and was point guard on the East High girls’ basketball team. “Barb” graduated from East High in 1947 and attended the University of Colorado while her spirit of adventure led her to work driving cars to auction so she could travel the country.
In 1949, at a dance in Boulder, she met her husband of 64 years, John Pellegren, a dashing Italian architect and Omaha Beach, D-Day survivor. Barb and John spent their afternoons on picnics in the mountains painting the Colorado landscape. Evenings were spent dancing, always clearing the floor as everyone was mesmerized by their movie-star looks and jitterbug skills. Barbara and John continued their love of music and dancing throughout their marriage until the last annual visit to the Broadmoor in 2013.
Shortly after their marriage in 1950, Barb and John moved their young family to Wyoming. Barbara was as comfortable on a ranch as in a boardroom. While they established a successful architectural firm, Barb, always interested in helping those in need, also taught at a school for developmentally challenged children. In 1963, the family moved to Littleton where her youngest child, Nancy, was born. She again supported her husband’s dream of an architecture and design business by returning to school to earn her license as an Interior Designer. Never one to rest on her laurels, Barb returned to school again in her 50’s to study computer science and introduced the CAD system to their work, raising standards of drafting and design, and ultimately establishing a nationally recognized design practice. Their work took them places near and far. For business and for pleasure, Barb and John traveled the world, golfing, singing, and dancing.
Even with a very full family and professional life, Barb was committed to a lifetime of service personally and through various organizations. Since childhood, she rescued and rehabilitated stranded and wounded birds and animals with a special gift and utmost care. This fostered her 23 years of volunteer work at The Denver Zoo where she earned Emeritus status in 2009, and a founding volunteer at Ocean Journey. A popular docent, she especially enjoyed taking snakes and other exotic animals to schools, leading tour groups through Tropical Discovery, tending the tamarinds and lorikeets, and loving Denver’s star polar bear cubs, Klondike and Snow. She believed we could not do enough to understand, care for, and protect the animals of the world and so became a contributing member to most every animal welfare organization.
In her mission to help people, Barb continued her legacy of service by lending her beautiful, nurturing voice and perfect diction to record 100’s of audiobooks for the Library of Congress, including all of the world sacred texts, through Taping for the Blind. As an advocate for disadvantaged women worldwide, she held several key roles with Zonta International spanning 33 years, including Chapter President, championing their Literacy Project, Women’s Bean Project, and Teen Mom program. She served on the Board of Directors for Denver Kids and was President of the Ladies’ Auxiliary for Craig Rehabilitation Hospital, advocating for barrier-free design, cheerleading the Special Olympics, and bringing hope and comfort to those who suffered brain and spinal cord damage. Always actively involved in her children’s lives and community, she was a favorite Camp Fire Girl group leader and founding member of the Southglenn Civic Association. In church, she frequently stayed the night supporting Stations of the Cross at St. Thomas Moore and helped to host Pope John Paul II during his historic visit. Wherever Barbara saw a need, she willingly and generously stepped up to serve, always giving it her all.
Fulfilling a dream, Barb spent the last 20 years in their home on Buffalo Ridge overlooking Daniel’s Park where she enjoyed watching the buffalo, elk, deer, and birds until her passing. An incredibly gifted artist, Barb spent her time prolifically sketching and painting the scenes of nature and wildlife.
Barbara was predeceased by her daughter Carol Lynn and husband, John Pellegren. She leaves her siblings, Catherine James, Maxine Colvin, and Tom Grove; her children and grandchildren: Jeanne Pellegren Jackson, husband Doug of Henderson, Nevada, and children Lindsay in Paris, France and son Craig of Boston, Massachusetts; Steve Pellegren, his wife Elizabeth of Hollywood, California and children Madeleine of Los Angeles and Price in Portland, Oregon; Rob Pellegren of Castle Pines, Colorado and his son Kyle Stewart of Seattle, Washington; Nancy Pellegren Nose and her husband, Stephen of Mount Airy, Maryland; Barbara’s rescue cat companion, Ebony; as well as countless friends and admirers.
A celebration of life will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, July 27, 2019, at The Denver Zoo.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in Barbara’s honor to:
The Dumb Friends League