Thomas "Tom" Rutter

March 26, 1945 ~ January 25, 2021 (age 75)


Thomas (Tom) Rutter of Denver, Colorado, passed away on Tuesday, January 25, 2021 at the age of 75. After a year of failing health, he died peacefully surrounded by family and friends.

Tom was born on March 26, 1945 in Addison, Il to James and Anita Rutter.  As a boy, growing up in a small town, “Tommy” was known for spending time on the creek hunting and fishing with his coon hound.  After graduating from Willowbrook High School and a short time at Moody Bible Institute, Tom moved to Colorado to attend CSU where he followed his love for nature studying biology.

Throughout his years in Colorado, Tom exercised his entrepreneurial spirit venturing into real estate, purchasing run down and neglected historic buildings and lovingly restoring them to their former beauty.

Although Tom may not have considered himself an ‘activist’, he spent much of his energy and talent forming grass roots movements to save and preserve important Denver landmarks.  To this day, his dedication to preservation is seen throughout Denver, from the City Park Center for the Environment, evolving from his conviction of the importance of creating opportunities for city children and families to connect with nature, to the Friends of Red Rocks, formed in 1999 to oppose construction that would have converted the historic planter boxes into corporate box seats, allowing naming rights of the venue and pushing through other ‘improvements’ which would have negatively impacted the beauty and history of the venue for future generations.

Tom loved music and played the hand drums, flute, harmonica, Indian shakers and tambourine.  He loved Native American history culture & artifacts, he lived in New Mexico for a short time and traveled there often.

He loved animals and was known for rescuing injured crows, racoons and often raised orphaned wild animals.  Toms love for animals was most notably shown through his dog Libby, a Coon Hound, who he treated like his daughter and who was always by his side.

Tom loved nature, being in the outdoors, appreciating the beauty of the natural environment.  His historic home in Park Hill was somewhat of a nature preserve with cottonwood, cherry and apricot trees and natural vegetation growing wild. A close friend described this as a shadow of Tom, “wanting to grow wild and follow his own path”

Tom cared deeply about others. He loved his family and was always there to lend a hand. He was a foundation for his elderly mother until her death.  He spent many happy years mentoring his young nephew, befriending and assisting the elderly, and helping the homeless. During his last year in a health care facility, himself in ill health, he supported his fellow residents by advocating for them when they could not do so for themselves in their time of difficulty.

He was a caring, thoughtful man, a good friend, loving son, a mentor to many, and a man who would give his last dime for someone in need, His own worst critic, he was always trying to improve himself personally, spiritually and physically.

Toms inner strength came from knowing ‘this is not all there is’.  He is loved and will be missed by many!

Tom Rutter was preceded in death by his father, James Rutter, mother, Anita Rutter, and sister, Lorelei Sturgeon.

He is survived by his sister, Alita Bagley, and brother-in-law Michael Sturgeon as well as 5 nieces and nephews and 12 grand-nieces and nephews as well as a host of beloved friends.


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