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Brian Wiley Klepinger

December 20, 1937 August 11, 2012
Brian Wiley Klepinger
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Obituary for Brian Wiley Klepinger

Dr. Brian W. Klepinger passed away unexpectedly August 11, 2012 from complications after surgery. He was surrounded by his loving wife and children. Brian was born to Forest and Gwen Klepinger in Shenandoah, Iowa on December 20, 1937. From a very young age he displayed a love of nature, the outdoors and animals. As a boy, he spent countless hours at the Klepinger family farm. After graduating from Cornell College in 1960, he initially wanted to become a forest ranger. However, his curiosity of continuing his education got the better of him, and he went on to study social work at the University of Chicago and received his masters in 1962. His first position out of graduate school was working as a Commissioned Officer at the US Public Health Service Department in the state of Missouri. He went on to be the Director of the Council of Social Planning for Alameda County, California. In 1967, he was invited to join the faculty of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. After 20 years as a professor who taught Policy Analysis, Strategic Planning and Non-profit Management, he decided it was time to practice what he preached. He became associate CEO of The Colorado Trust. Woven throughout his career was his love of travel and photography. He was very proud of the fact that he had traveled to all seven continents and that he has been to some of the most remote areas on earth. Africa was by far his favorite place, traveling there 15 times. One of his favorite memories was seeing the gorillas in their natural habitat in Rwanda. However, on his way back to the airport, he was nearly killed by a spontaneous uprising, which has led to numerous tellings of this story. In December of 1990 Brian’s ultimate dream job was presented to him as he assumed the position of the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Denver Zoological Gardens. This position not only fulfilled his desire to help manage and direct a not-for-profit organization, but it allowed him to interact with animals from all over the world and to help create and oversee the building of some of the state-of- the-art habitats. Brian retired in 2005 and was named as an Honorary Life Trustee for the Denver Zoological Foundation, which was an honor that he held near and dear to his heart. He is survived by his wife, Cyndy, his son, Eric of Denver, his daughter, Lisa Jones and her husband David of Connecticut, his grandchildren, Kara, Jennifer and Robert, his sister, Linda Keenan, and her husband John of Vermont and their children, Daniel and Melanie and their families. He also leaves many loving cousins and friends. Memorial service will be held at the Denver Zoo, 2300 Steel Street, Denver, Colorado 80205 on Thursday, August 16 at 2 p.m. The family requests donations be made to the Denver Zoo.

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