Walt Imhoff knew to listen to another human heart and give of himself in kind. First, he was extraordinarily successful and philanthropic. You would regularly see him smiling from the society pages with his beloved wife Georgia at his side. After her death in 2009, the smile faded. He prevailed but never recovered. When Walt Imhoff died suddenly on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at age 82, the Lion of 17th Street left an enormous hole in our hearts.
Born in Denver on Aug. 7, 1931, Mr. Imhoff earned a BS in business from Regis in 1955. Initially vice president at Coughlin and Co., he left five years later to join Hanifen, Imhoff & Samford. In 1980, the firm changed its name to Hanifen, Imhoff. By then, the company was one of largest banking firms in the Rocky Mountain Region. In 2000, the company merged with Stifel, Nicolaus, where Imhoff was managing director until his retirement in 2007.
Not bad for a man who confessed to the Intermountain Jewish News in 2005 that when he entered the world of tax free municipal bonds, “I didn’t know a bond from a load of hay. We never had the money to invest in securities.”
The IJN described Mr. Imhoff as “more like a contented pet cat than a lion . . . humble, generous of spirit and faithful to his roots.” His mother taught him the importance of giving to those in need. Georgia, whom he married in 1973, was cut from the same cloth. “We’ve supported each other in everything,” he said. “Iappreciate what she does, and she appreciates what I do. It’s a real blessing.”
Being blessed was never sufficient for Walt Imhoff. He wanted to bestow blessings on people who needed light in their lives. And that he did, with Georgia at his side, time and again. Both committed to preventing child abuse, they poured their considerable efforts into the Kempe Foundation. He was responsible for leading the charge on a $17 million capital campaign.
Imhoff supported countless organizations: the Boy Scouts, Children’s Diabetes Foundation, Regis University, Colorado Concern, Family First, St. Joseph Hospital and so many others. A good friend of the Jewish community, he told the IJN: “Ican always count on them for my causes, and they can always count on me for theirs.”
Walt Imhoff believed in helping people survive, and smile. He received numerous awards, but nothing meant more to him than what one of his sons told the Denver Post: “He said I was his mentor. It was very touching; really wonderful.” He loved his family, and we hope they find comfort at this difficult time. May they be blessed by the knowledge that their father was indeed a lion. His life beat with good deeds, good will and a good heart. Now we carry his heart in ours. We won’t let go.
Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News