Rudy  Phannenstiel
Rudy Phannenstiel

November 14, 1935 - October 10, 2017
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Rudolph Marion Phannenstiel was born on November 14, 1935 in Hays, Kansas. He was the 2nd of 4 children born to Alexander and Minna Phannenstiel; older brother, Louis and younger sisters Annita and Veronica.

The family moved to Denver in 1945 and took up residence on South Ogden Street. All the children attended St. Francis De Sales in Denver. In 1950 the family moved to Kansas City, Kansas when Alexander took a position with the Martin Steel Co. Alexander decided that he wanted to go back into real estate, so after just 13 months, the family moved back to Denver. They purchased a house a 455 S. Williams Street in Denver and the kids all went back to St. Francis De Sales.

Rudy graduated high school in 1953 and in the fall of 1954 began attending the University of Colorado in Boulder. He was exceptionally adept at writing prose, but didn’t really take to college. In the spring of 1955, Rudy enlisted in the Army and shipped off to boot camp at Fort Carson. After boot camp he was stationed at Fort Winthrop near Boston. His first assignment was in a missile silo.

After his discharge from the army, Rudy moved back to Denver and got a job as a clerk at Jackson’s Drugs. He took a few night classes that were offered at the C.U. Extension. By the end of 1958 he had decided that he wanted to become a police officer and was hired on January 2, 1959.

It was during this time that he met Karen Elaine Thomas and they began dating. The couple were married on October 3, 1959. Their oldest son Dirk, was born in December of 1960. Karen was a stay at home mom, while Rudy continued to work for the Denver Police Department. By 1965 he had been promoted to Dispatch.

Rudy and Karen had purchased a house on South Vrain and were living there when daughter, Lisa was born in May of 1966 and son Dale in October of 1969. In November of 1969 Rudy, was promoted to Sergeant and worked the night shift. During this time the family continued to grow with the birth of David, who was born prematurely and only lived a short time, and Dean who was born in October of 1972.

In 1976 Rudy, was promoted to Lieutenant and was placed in charge of the Denver Police Academy for a time. With this promotion he finally moved back to a day job. After a few years at the Academy, he transferred to the Research and Development Department. Part of his assignment was to help analyze the utilization of police assets such as patrol cars etc. trying to determine useful life and replacement value. Rudy had caught the attention of his commanding officer who offered this entry into Rudy’s performance evaluation; “Lieut. Phannenstiel commands the Research and Development Division. This is a classic situation of the right person in the right assignment. He is a cerebral person who has the ability to apply his intelligence to practical situations. The administration of this department has received great support from Lt. His work is always superior quality. His bureau is under-staffed but does the job well because of the inspiration he provides. Lt. is one of the outstanding Lt’s in this department and is certainly ready for promotion to Captain.”

He was promoted to Captain in March of 1983, and placed in charge of Denver District 2, which includes Park Hill and the Swansea neighborhoods. Once again, Rudy rose to the new position and excelled in his duties. His commanding officer made this entry in his performance evaluation: “As Commander of the largest, most ethnically diverse district in the city, he has worked tirelessly in developing the Police potential in his Officers while meeting the demands of the residents in a sensitive and professional manner. The department is fortunate in having such a bright, compassionate Command Officer in its ranks.”

In 1986, Rudy was promoted to Division Chief. When Chief of Police Thomas Coogan resigned in early 1987, Rudy was promoted to Interim Chief of Police. Rudy retired in September of 1987, when Aristedes “Ari” Zavaras was named as the new Denver Chief of Police.

Rudy’s work schedule didn’t allow for a lot of free time, but the family enjoyed weekend camping trips to the mountains. Occasionally he would save us his days off and the family would travel back east or to Kansas to visit family.

Rudy’s favorite past time was to work on the house. He remodeled every house they every lived in, adding rooms and finishing basements. He was very meticulous and showed the same dedication to detail as he did in the other aspects of his life.

Viewing Tues. 10/17 5:00-7:00pm, Recitation of the Rosary 7:00pm, Horan & McConaty Family Chapel 3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood.

Funeral Mass Wed. 10/18 10:00am, Christ on the Mountain, 13922 W. Utah Ave., Lakewood. Burial to follow at 12:15pm Ft. Logan National Cemetery, Staging Area 'C'.

Please share your condolences with Rudy's family by signing the guestbook below.




Horan & McConaty - Wadsworth
3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Lakewood, CO US 80227
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Recitation of the Rosary
Horan & McConaty - Wadsworth
3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Lakewood, CO US 80227
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
7:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Christ On The Mountain Catholic Church
13922 West Utah Avenue
Lakewood, CO 80228
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
10:00 AM
Pavilion Service
Fort Logan National Cemetery
3698 South Sheridan Boulevard
Denver, CO US 80236
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
12:15 PM
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