December 30, 1927 ~ February 2, 2019
Born in: Walsenburg, Colorado
Resided in: Denver, Colorado
George John Ivans, 91, a Colorado native, died peacefully the afternoon of February 2nd, 2019 at Sunrise at Pinehurst Assisted Living facility in Denver.
Born in a mining camp near Walsenburg, Colorado on December 30th, 1927 to Simo (Sam) Ivanisevich (later changed to Ivans) and Mary (nee Spolar) Couch, he spent his early years in Silverton, Colorado before moving to Denver in 1942. A graduate of East High School, he was drafted into the army in June of 1946 where he served as a Provost Marshal in the Philippines until March of 1948. Upon discharge, he returned to Denver where he enrolled at the University of Colorado in Boulder as a Pre-Med major.
George returned to Army service in February of 1951 for the Korean War and served at the Fort Carson hospital as Chief Administrative NCO. Discharged in March of 1952, he continued his education in Boulder where he met his future wife, Bonnie Lou Murray, at a Theta Xi fraternity party. Following graduation with a BA in Psychology, he and Bonnie were married on July 31st, 1954. George earned a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from CU in January of 1957. During this time, while living in a tiny apartment over a garage, their first two children, Gregory (1955) and Deborah (1957) were born. Shortly thereafter George and Bonnie purchased a small home in Denver and George started working for the Colorado State Vocational Education department.
The next several years saw the addition of Pamela (1959), Mark (1960) and Jennifer (1963). Realizing that they were quickly outgrowing their starter home, they moved to Lakewood in July of 1963 where the births of Karen (1965) and Rebecca (1966) completed the family. They eventually lived in this home for almost 55 years. As if raising seven children wasn’t enough, during the late sixties George and Bonnie opened their home and their hearts to several foster teens.
They were long-time parishioners of nearby Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. He was active in the church including involvement in CFM, CANA and other Catholic organizations, hosting home masses and clergy from all over the world. In later years, George participated in weekly Bible studies as well as various social activities at Fatima.
In the late sixties, George was working for the department of Health, Education and Welfare in Rehab Services Administration. The years passed quickly, filled with family activities and career advancements, which included a good amount of travel particularly in his role as Regional Director of the Work Incentive Now (WIN) program. George retired in 1992 as Program Manager for the Administration for Children and Families.
He enjoyed golfing throughout his life but especially after retiring; achieving a bucket list hole-in-one in 2002. He was also a model train enthusiast and spent many hours working on his HO scale layout in his basement. When he wasn’t reading his favorite genre of books – science fiction – he could be found in his garden which he planted almost every year with varying success. He was a lifelong fan of the Denver Broncos and the Colorado Rockies and remained involved with his beloved fraternity at CU which included support of the CU Buffs. George and Bonnie also loved cultural events, attending symphonies and the theatre as often as finances allowed.
Each of his seven children married and blessed him and Bonnie with grandchildren. He reveled in his role as grandfather and, eventually, great-grandfather. George and Bonnie were both only children so this was an outcome that both pleased and awed them! After being diagnosed in the early 2000’s with macular degeneration, George unfortunately lost his vision and with it the ability to participate in many of the activities he deeply enjoyed. Bonnie was diagnosed with dementia in 2014 and this, along with the death of their son, Mark, that same year was a difficult period for them. In 2017, Bonnie suffered serious injuries as a result of a fall at home. About six months later, George and Bonnie moved into Sunrise at Pinehurst, an assisted living facility in Denver.
The caregivers both prior to this move and during his stay at Sunrise were wonderful and the family is deeply grateful for the attention and love shown to both George and Bonnie. In addition, his amazing Encompass hospice team made the last weeks, days and hours of George’s life comfortable, peaceful and filled with love.
George was preceded in death by his parents, Sam Ivanisevich and Mary Couch, and son, Mark Ivans, and is survived by his devoted wife of 64 years, Bonnie M. Ivans, his children, Greg Ivans (Dawn), Debbie Grummer (Pat), Pam Trapp (Clayton), Jennifer Ivans, Karen Helfrich, and Rebecca Amato (Victor) as well as 22 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
The funeral mass will be held at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church on Friday, February 15th, at 10:30 a.m. followed by a luncheon in the church hall. He will be privately interred at a later time at Fort Logan National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in George’s honor to the Colorado Talking Book Library.
The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in George John Ivans's name.