Our founding members came together in 2016 to plan a multigenerational cohousing neighborhood within walking distance of the amenities of Ridgway. It started as a conversation, then a meeting, then a workshop. The following dedicated and committed individuals helped to create this vision - and then along came others who believe in cohousing as a beautiful way to live…….
After growing up in upstate New York, attending Cornell University, then working as a home economist, teacher, librarian, and director of Christian Education, I decided, as an older adult, to attend seminary where I focused on spiritual formation for myself and others. I graduated with a Master of Divinity degree.
Now, along with my husband, Mick, I am a nurturer of a family which includes 3 children, 2 spouses, and 7 grandchildren. I am an avid reader, an enthusiastic walker and hiker with my husband and beloved dog, an energetic cook who likes to prepare tasty food for people, and a welcoming hostess of individuals and groups in our home and at our outdoor labyrinth.
As the seasons change, my favorite activity changes: In the spring it is preparing soil and tending my garden and planting flower pots; In summer it is hiking; In fall it is mushroom hunting in our nearby forests; In winter it is snowshoeing. As far as I am concerned Ridgway, CO is the BEST place to live. Come and see!
Mick Graff was born in 1942 and raised in Wyoming, OH, a suburb of Cincinnati. He attended college at Cornell U, U of CA Berkeley, Xavier U, and Northern KY U. He met Kathy at Cornell; they were married after graduation, and celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2015. They have three sons; Greg, a professor at CSU in Ft Collins, CO; Chris, a dentist in Montrose, CO; and Ken, a recent graduate of CO School of Mines and job hunting in Denver. Greg and Rosemary have two sons, Larin and Tevis; Chris and Kathy have five sons, Evan, Sean, Jonas, Josiah and Joseph, the latter two adopted from Uganda; Ken is single. Mick worked for Procter & Gamble for 34 years, 14 in Research & Development, and 20 as a Patent Attorney. Mick retired in 2000, and Kathy and Mick relocated from Cincinnati to Ouray County in 2001. Mick locally is on the Boards of the Ouray Trails Group, Friends of the Wright Opera House, and Western Colorado Community Foundation; he volunteers at the Ouray Visitor Center, talking with visitors about local trails and jeep roads. Mick likes to hike, ski, golf, play softball, make chess sets out of nuts and bolts and other hardware pieces, and take photos of the beautiful scenery and wildlife here. Kathy and Mick are founding members of the United Church of the San Juans in Ridgway, where Mick especially likes to help organize and participate in discussion groups.
Kate spent most of her life in southeast Michigan and worked as a senior writer for U-M's news service for 14 years. She later freelanced for many Ann Arborarea publications until retirement in 2007.
She and her husband, an automotive engineer, and their two children had hiked and skied on Colorado's front range for many years. On a road trip in 2003, they fell in love with the San Juan Mountains on the western slope. A stop at a funky little shop, Ridgway's Cimarron Coffee and Books, convinced them that Ouray County would be their retirement home. They settled here in 2007.
When Kate lost her husband in 2012, she decided to remain in the Ridgway community, where she is active in several nonprofits and works part-time at the Ouray County Historical Museum as publicist. In her free time, she hikes and skies in the mountains with friends or daughter. Michigan often calls her back for visits with son, daughter-in-law and grandkids.
Little did she know in 2003 that her future co-housing neighborhood would be just steps away from the Cimarron Coffee shop.
Don has been a Ridgway resident since 2006. He, and his wife Sally, were attracted to Ouray County for the same reason as many of you — the mountain paradise.
His boyhood home was a farm town in NE Kansas. He graduated as a mechanical engineer at Kansas State University. After a few years in the heating/air conditioning field, he returned to school and received a dental degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. From there, he practiced dentistry in Denver for many years prior to moving to Ridgway.
Don enjoys most outdoor activities, being with friends, and reading. He has a particular interest in the science/spirituality interface.
My childhood was spent in Illinois and South Florida. Summers in the UP and adventures in the western mountains and deserts excited my love of wild places. Degrees earned in history and political science, the teaching of reading, and human nutrition led to several lively professions and now, in retirement, a variety of community activities. My husband, Don, and I backpacked in the Colorado Rockies with our two sons when living in the Denver area. Now we delight in enjoyment of SW Colorado with their families and our friends.
Geoff moved to Durango, Colorado, from Cincinnati in 1971 to take a job as a reporter for the Durango Herald. Three years later he moved to Montrose to work for the Colorado Division of Wildlife as an information specialist before retiring in 2001.
When a group in Ridgway got together to start visioning a cohousing community he thought,
“This is the place I want to live, these are the people I want to live with, and this is the way I want to do it--being able to work together, play together, and help each other.”
He enjoys a multitude of outdoor activities he shares with friends including hiking, camping, skiing, photography, and birding, which has taken him to a number of countries including Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, India, and Bhutan. “Have binoculars. Will travel!”
Jim and Susan
Jim and Susan were good friends during high school in Englewood, CO, then re-met each other at their 26th High School reunion. Both had grown children at the time and they married in 1992. They now share 15 grandchildren and one great grand-son, all of whom love visiting here! Both are retired, Jim after 42 years of teaching mathematics in the public schools, and Susan from counseling children and families.
Jim built their current home himself, with the help of family & friends, near Ridgway, CO, where they have enjoyed living since 1997. Santa gave Jim his first toy train set when he was four years old and he is still playing with trains. He truly has a one track mind. Susan has always loved being in the mountains of Colorado—whether hiking, skiing, or just hanging out. She took up painting in her early 60’s, & now loves to paint outdoors, particularly the landscapes around Ridgway. Susan’s enjoyment of plein air painting has led to many new friendships & much joy.
"We particularly like that Alpenglow will be uniquely situated in Ouray County, right in the middle of the small, active town of Ridgway, between two lovely parks, near the Uncompaghre River, with fabulous mountain views, & within easy walking distance of schools, church, theatre, and shops. Both of us have become deeply involved in the early planning and design of this Alpenglow CoHousing, and see it as a positive way to age in place in a supportive environment."
And then along came…
In the summer of 2014 I hiked the Colorado Trail – the trail from Denver to Durango. After 5 weeks of hiking, I arrived in the San Juan mountains. While sitting by the Animas river, I realized with every fiber of my being that I was home. 2 years later I picked up and moved to Ouray County. And while it was difficult to leave friends and work that was dear to my heart, each day I feel so blessed to be living in this landscape. I hear the birds in the morning, watch the storms sweep across the mountains, hike through wildflower meadows, and am awed by the endless trails to explore. I’ve discovered that the people drawn to this land share my spirit for adventure, many share my love of community and love for the Earth. I am interested in cultivating cultures where people can fully thrive and bring their gifts to life, and I’m deeply dedicated to bridging divides. We live in unpredictable times, and I believe that this is waking us back up to how much we really do need one another. CoHousing in Ridgway is just a dream come true for me. Also, I'm a foodie. And it turns out that Ridgway is too!
A native Floridian, Sara moved to Ouray County in 2000 seeking a more wholesome environment to raise her three children. The beauty of the mountains as well as the vibrant community found here were powerful draws. Sara has been a caterer for over 40 years and enjoys traveling, especially where interesting food and wine is to be found. A lifelong supporter of the performing arts, Sara sings in several local choruses and has been a decade-long member of the board of the Ouray County Performing Arts Guild. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin in journalism, Sara remains fascinated by politics and current events.
"CoHousing: Living in community, where my neighbors are my friends and my friends are my neighbors."
Miguel “Mike”and Sarah
Sarah is a mountain person, Mike’s a water person. “But we both fell in love with the Ridgway area when RVing in 2016. Mike spent his days in the hot springs while I (Sarah) climbed mountains—the perfect recipe for escaping the summer heat and humidity of Florida where we live. When we heard that a co-housing project was forming in Ridgway, we flew 2,000 miles to check it out, loved the community and joined.”
Sarah grew up in upstate New York where running, hiking and cross-country skiing in the “mountains” there were her great escapes. Through luck and a year in Colombia, South America when she was 20, she found her way to anthropology. She’s been a university professor in Miami since 1997, specializing in international migration from Latin America and the Caribbean. Mike was born in Cuba but left at age 8 for New York City. As he’s fond of saying, “I, too, have a PhD—in life!” At age 18 he went to Vietnam as an Army Ranger, then learned a variety of skills from jockey, to taxi driver, to Las Vegas card shark and most recently working dog trainer. He and Sarah have started two working dog businesses in Florida. They sold the first and could have retired comfortably but Mike got the itch again and so they bought a kennel outside Orlando. “We are tired of working 24/7 and ready to head for the hills again! Can’t wait to wake up every morning with the San Juans all around us!” Sarah’s Colorado brother (Evergreen) and family are excited to have company in the state and all of Sarah and Mike’s kids, grandkids and great-grandkids on the East Coast will just have to get the mountain bug too. “We’re ready for Mountain Time!”
Liz and John
John is a native of Colorado (born in Del Norte) and attended college, law school and medical school in the State. He is proud to have done all the 14er’s and almost all of the Colorado Trail (an injury near Silverton prevented completion). As a forensic pathologist, John performs autopsies for Jefferson County, several rural counties and some metro Denver hospital systems. While there seems little time for hobbies now, woodworking and book binding might some day grab his interest again.
Because Liz’s father was a hospital administrator in the Army and her mother from Vienna, Austria, she traveled a lot when young and then attended college in New York, graduate school in California and law school in Denver. Her first husband, who died in a climbing accident, brought her to Denver in the mid70’s, and she’s called Colorado home for 40 years. Retiring from the full time practice of law in 2018, Liz now consults in health care, specializing in business and regulatory matters. She and John have three adult children, a son currently in Seattle, a son in San Francisco, and a daughter in Denver. Liz loves to cook, garden, and hopes more time might inspire her to use her floor loom.
For many years, Liz and John owned a second home on 50 acres in rural Montezuma County. The home was part of a private road association, and the members of that association had to deal with some very difficult issues. Much of the pleasure they derived from the home was due to the friendships forged in working together on creating a better community. Liz studied intentional living communities as part of her academic studies, and she and John have for decades followed co-housing projects in Colorado, knowing that one day an opportunity to join such a community might present itself.
“ We believe it is important to build and maintain strong connections to land and people, and living in Alpenglow holds the promise of those connections. “