August 20, 1923 ~ February 28, 2019
Born in: Seneca, KS
Resided in: Denver, CO
Edgar John (Pete) Engelken was born in Seneca, Kansas on August 20, 1923. He was the 5th child of 9 born to Joseph and Anna Engelken. The family lived on a farm a few miles from Seneca.
Edgar didn’t like farm life much and after high school, he joined the Navy. Serving as a radioman on the hospital ship USS Tranquility in 1945, Edgar received the order to proceed to Guam to aid survivors of the USS Indianapolis which had been torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The sinking of the USS Indianapolis remains the worst disaster in US Navy history and was a major event in World War II. It was also an event that remained a vivid memory for the rest of his life.
After 2 years in the Navy, Edgar went to college at Kansas State and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and mass communications. While at Kansas State, he joined the ROTC and served in the Air Force Reserves. This took him to a two week training course at Buckley Air Force Base in Denver. It was there he fell in love with Colorado. After stints in radio stations in Goodland, Kansas and Cheyenne, Wyoming, he moved to Denver in 1950. Edgar spent his professional career selling insurance, first for Continental Insurance and later, he teamed up with a friend, Mike Mooney, and started the independent agency, Mooney Insurance.
Pete met Carolyn Zimmerman in 1956 through his brother Regis whom she knew from Kansas University. The story goes that Regis told Carolyn that Pete could get her a teaching job at any school in Denver. They were married on April 22, 1957. They had two children. James Brian Engelken was born on July 14, 1958, and Patrice Ann Engelken was born on May 1, 1962.
Pete came from a large Catholic family. He was close to his siblings and their extensive offspring. Many of Pete’s nephews and nieces looked up to him as the family patriarch, a man with a dry wit that was immensely appreciated by an entire family that shared that dry wit. Despite a rigid upbringing, Edgar showed compassion and understanding to his children and nephews and nieces no matter the challenges they were experiencing.
Pete was a converted Republican and Carolyn is a lifelong Democrat. Their children remember dining room debates of Nixon versus McGovern and delivering Democratic Party pamphlets on Saturday and Republican Party pamphlets on Sunday. Pete and Carolyn’s political differences were minor compared to the loved they shared. They were married for just two months shy of 62 years.
Pete was ethical and honest, almost to a fault. He believed in the goodness of people and rarely the bad. When speaking with Pete, you felt like his attention was entirely devoted to you. He was a voracious reader, favoring classic detective stories, biographies, and history. Pete’s Catholic faith was important to him and he attended Mass every Saturday. He served as President of his Rotary Club and was an active and proud member up until his last days. His gentle, steady, and warm personality and clever wit will be missed by all who knew him.
Pete is survived by his wife Carolyn, son Jim and daughter-in-law Nancy and granddaughter Elisa, daughter Patrice and son-in-law Dave Lorenzen and granddaughters Kira and Renee, brothers Regis (Mary) and Gerald Engelken, and 26 nieces and nephews.
Memorials appreciated to Rotary Club International.
Funeral Mass: March 22, 2019 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Risen Christ Catholic Parish
3060 South Monaco Parkway
Denver, CO 80222