November 4, 1934 ~ December 1, 2018
Born in: Sonsbeck, Germany
Resided in: Denver, Colorado
John Speier “Hans”, 84, of Denver, Colorado, passed away peacefully Saturday, December 1, 2018 at Denver Health Medical Center.
Born November 4, 1934, in Sonsbeck, Germany, he was the son of the late Heinrich and Josefine Speier. Hans began his life in the arms of a loving family. At the age of 6, as Hans prepared to begin grade school, a time of excitement quickly turned into one of worry when his father was drafted to be a Luftwaffe medic. The next few years of Hans’ life were tragic, marked by the ramifications of World War II. The war claimed his father’s life and left Hans, his sister Gertrude, and mother distraught. From 1945 through 1948, Hans, Gertrude, and their mother had to escape from Russian-controlled Germany and worked towards rebuilding their lives in Buer, Germany. Surviving a time of mass poverty and hunger, the family was supported from surrounding family in Gelsenkirchen and distant relatives in Denver, Colorado. When he was 15, Hans gained an apprenticeship in printing. Driven by his difficult upbringing, Hans taught himself the operation of a linotype machine to gain advancement. At age 19, Hans’ mother passed away. A few years later his Onkle Hugo visited the family from Denver, Colorado and invited Hans to the United States. In 1956, the 22-year old Hans arrived in Denver, Colorado on a work visa.
With a new chapter beginning in the United States, Hans set his mind towards building a career. After only a year into this journey, Hans’ career ambitions would turn as he quickly found something more valuable. On July 26, 1958, Hans married Sidonia Bradac, his dance partner and the love of his life. Together they dreamed of a loving family not born into the hardships that they both endured in their childhood. Their first step as a couple was for Hans to complete his obligation as a draftee to the United States Army at Fort Eustis in Virginia. His two years of active duty in Virginia displayed his exemplary work ethic and attention to the most minor details to his superiors who honored him with the soldier of the month a year into his service. The dedication he showed and recognition for his efforts would later be instrumental in obtaining his citizenship in 1964. After his life with the army, Hans and Sidonia resumed their dreams of starting a family in Denver, Colorado. With Sidonia raising their son, Henry and daughter, Joann, Hans resumed his printing career. The most defining period in Hans’ career was his 28-year tenure working at the Denver Post from July 29, 1968 to December 1, 1996. Always eagerly learning about the newest technologies, Hans became a valuable member of the Denver Post. At the ring of a pager, regardless of the hour or place, Hans would do anything necessary to ensure the newspaper’s applications ran smoothly. He was truly instrumental in evolving the Denver Post into the new age of electronic and digital printing.
Retirement marked a valuable transition for Hans. The newfound time spent with his family redefined his character. The role of devoted provider took on a new role as Opa. As a husband, he renewed his dancing vigor and enjoyed every moment with Sidonia. As a father, he made sure he was always available to listen, share his wisdom and guide in any way possible. As an Opa, his constant love and support inspired his grandchildren to be the best they could be. Hans established the foundation for his family to achieve anything they dreamed to do. He will be greatly missed but his lessons will never be forgotten.
He is survived by loving wife, Sidonia to whom he was married to for 60 years; his children: Henry Speier (spouse Ann) and Joann Nerheim (spouse Kirk); his five grandchildren: Kevin Nerheim (spouse Rachel), John Speier, Bruce Nerheim, William Speier, and Christopher Speier; and his sister, Gertrude Rieb (spouse Joseph).
A rosary service and remembrance will be held on Thursday, December 6th at 6:00 PM at Horan & McConaty Funeral Services, 1091 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO. A Mass of Resurrection will be held on Friday, December 7th at 10:00 AM at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 2375 E Arizona Ave, Denver, CO.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Regis Jesuit High School’s Technology Fund (Aurora, CO) or St. Ignatius High School’s Science and Technology Departments (Cleveland, OH).
Funeral Mass: December 7, 2018 10:00 am - 11:00 am
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
2375 E. Arizona Ave.
Denver, CO 80210