John Edward Litz

July 27, 1936 ~ December 29, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old

John Litz Obituary

John Edward Litz was born in what is now Zambia, in south central Africa in 1936. He passed away on December 28, 2023 at the age of 87 years old, following a valiant, year-long cancer battle.  

John’s initial education was in Zambia and South Africa. His family returned to the United States after WWII, originally settling in Omaha before making Colorado home in 1950. Later, he graduated from East Denver High School, studied at the Colorado School of Mines, and earned a master’s degree from the University of Colorado. John met his wife, Karen, in 1956. They were married for over 49+ years before her death in 2007. John enjoyed a diverse career working in Uravan, Colorado mining camps, also in Grand Junction, Niagara Falls, New York and Golden, Colorado. John finalized his career as a self-employed Metallurgical Engineer up until his death. His specialty was developing processes for the recovery of metals from ores, concentrates and recyclable materials. John also authored twenty-three publications on various metallurgy and engineering topics and holds sixteen patents.

Self-described as a person who can’t say no, John managed a preschool/day care in Grand Junction for the Jaycees. After joining Kiwanis in Lewiston, New York, he organized their Annual Peach Festival, which earned more than $30,000 for the organization. As a member of Applewood Kiwanis, John was President for two terms, Secretary for four terms, and Treasurer for four terms. John served as a member of Wheat Ridge Kiwanis and was serving as the Secretary for the group at the time of his death. John was a volunteer for ARC in Jefferson and Gilpin Counties for nineteen years. John was an original member of Plan Jeffco in 1972, a group that organized the campaign to create Jefferson County Open Space through a ballot initiative. He co-authored the resolution approved by the voters that year.  John also helped organize the campaign to authorize the $160 million bond issue that funded Open Space’s acquisition of many important properties. Jeffco Open Space, one of the nation’s finest parks programs, has flourished immensely much due to John’s selfless dedication. John Litz was named to the Jefferson County Hall of Fame in 2022 for his outstanding contributions in the areas of preservation, volunteerism, and public service. John was still active with Plan Jeffco and had served on the Open Space Advisory Committee for over twenty-two years. He served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Jeffco Outdoors Foundation. John was instrumental in arranging for the Jeffco Outdoors Foundation offering free field trips for students at Title I schools in Jeffco to Hiwan Heritage Museum and the Lookout Mountain Nature Center.

John was also serving as a board member of the Applewood Community Foundation and The Colorado School of Mines Foundation Property Management Corporation at the time of his death.  Few people have benefited Jefferson County and the surrounding area more than John Litz.

John immensely enjoyed his family time, lovingly dedicating weekends to work on the family cabin located in Nederland, Colorado. He was a dedicated Colorado Symphony season ticket holder for over 45 years. He and his wife, Karen, enjoyed the same seats together for many years. John also proudly maintained University of Colorado Buffalo season football tickets where he loved attending the games with his wife, daughters and granddaughters. He lived by his lesson in life of, “Life is much better if you are a giver, not a taker”.

He is survived by his three daughters, Kari Litz (Wheat Ridge, CO), Kirstin Litz, (Pleasanton, CA) and Denise Litz (Stafford, VA) and his three grandchildren, Rebekah Litz, Cheyenne Engstrom and Dominick Miller.

A memorial will be held on February 4, 2024 at Friedhoff Hall-Green Center at the Colorado School of Mines, where friends and family will be invited to celebrate his life and contributions. Memorial donations can be made to the Jeffco Open Space Foundation,  PlanJeffco or the Kiwanis Children’s Fund.

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Celebration of Life
February 4, 2024

1:00 PM
Friedhoff Hall-Green Center
909-1011 15th St.
Golden, CO 80401


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