Leo Walter Mayer
January 24, 1937-October 26, 2018
Passed in peace, October 26, 2018. Leo Walter Mayer will be missed by all those who considered him family, friend and fellow Trachtler. Born in Lohr am Main in 1937, he was ever proud to show his Bavarian heritage. As a teenager he became a member of D’Lustigen Isartaler Trachten Verein in Munich where schuhplattling became his passion.
In the early 50’s he came to the States with his parents, settling in Chicago Illinois where he met his bride of 59 years Barbara at the D’Lustigen Holzhacker Buam, Chicago – Schuhplattler. It was at this time he also found time to provide service to the National Guard (3 years) and serve as an Army reservist (3 years).
Leo and Barbara raised three children; son Leo (currently of Munich), daughters Barbara (of Littleton) and Maria (of Lakewood). In 1967 they chose to leave Chicago, packed the Buick wagon, and moved to Colorado where the mountains reminded him of Bavaria's beauty and the skiing was just around the corner. He enjoyed teaching his kids to ski, play soccer and supported them in their musical endeavors, as well as taught them their heritage which included schuhplattling. He played and coached several soccer teams, volunteered as a parent chaperone for many of the Denver Youth Musicians camp trips as well as volunteering for numerous other organizations where help was needed.
As the family changed so were the needs for more transportation so he went out and purchased a van; this was back when vans were rare. The van was used to haul everything from rocks, picnics and dogs to instruments, skies, and soccer gear. It was while he was on one of his many ski trips that he decided that the skis being transported inside the Van needed to be transported on the outside and with that he came up with a secure and safe, one of a kind, ski rack for the back door of the Van. This idea and invention received Leo his first patent for a ski rack that adjusted to; what was at the time, a cargo van.
Leo also dedicated nearly two decades of service to the Gauverband Nordamerika as a strong advocate of educating and preserving the Bavarian culture as a judge and officer. He campaigned vigorously to bring the younger generation closer to the dancing with the Gauverband by helping to establish a youth competition. Throughout his years with the Gauverband he was a Gaubeisitzer earning him the distinguished title of Ehrenbeisitzer. He was recognized and given an award by the Bavarian Government for his efforts and work to preserve the Bavarian culture and for his Gauverband service.
The family became members of the T.E.V. Edelweiss Verein Denver in 1967 where he served as a Vorplattler, Vice President, and President throughout the many years as a member. It was also at this time that he thought it was important to expose other children in the Verein to schuhplattling and began a children's (kinder) group so that none of them would be left out and to preserve and continue the heritage through dance and language. His favorite thing was teaching kids to dance. Always active in the German community Leo helped to establish the Edelweiss Preservation Foundation where he was President for 14 years.
After 20+ years of service to Coors Brewing Company and multiple patents with Coors he retired and began a small business in his garage working with inventors and engineers who needed quality help. He never turned down a chance to help friends with projects as well as kept busy with his son-in-law projects (Victor and Michael). Leo was one to always brainstorm and come up with new ideas and inventions; never did his mind stop. He also started hand honing knives with carved deer horn handles and handmade leather sheaths with fine silver work; all with beautiful designs for his family and fellow Trachtlers. Many of these knives are out there today with his personal stamp.
Leo was such a proud grandfather (Opa) of his grandchildren (Aana and Kevin). He rarely missed opportunities to participate with them whether it be skiing, riding a train or schuhplattling, to traveling with them to Germany or the mountains. He was never one to pass up an opportunity to watch a fine concert or a good game of baseball; he was always watching and supporting them in their many activities.
Leo, spoke with careful consideration of facts – his purpose was always to improve upon whatever project in which he was involved. He loved his family with great passion and held friendships like gold.
The heavens received a truly special and caring man.
Survived by wife Barbara. Visitation Sunday, 11/04/18, 1:00-3:00 pm. Vigil Service 3:00 pm. Both at Horan & McConaty, 3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd. Funeral Mass Monday, 11/05/18, 11:00 am, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, 1985 Miller St. In lieu of flowers donations to National Jewish Health, 303-728-6560, https://www.nationaljewish.org/home.