George Caulkins, a Vail founder, dies |

George Caulkins, a Vail founder, dies

Daily Staff Writer

DENVER – George Peck Caulkins Jr., a Denver businessman who was a founder of the Vail ski resort, died Thursday at his family’s home in Denver after a long illness. He was 83. Caulkins, a native of Grosse Pointe, Mich., was born March 25, 1921. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale College and a master’s in business from Harvard University. He earned the rank of lieutenant while in the U.S. Navy from 1941 to 1946, serving as a navigator aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Wainwright in the European and Pacific theaters during World War II.Caulkins moved to Denver from Oklahoma after establishing Caulkins Oil Company in the early 1950s. In the early ’60s, Caulkins was among the group of founders who developed Vail. Caulkins raised money to build the resort as its original underwriter. Caulkins also was chairman of the Denver Real Estate Investment Association, one of Denver’s first real estate investment trusts; managing general partner of Caulkins Citrus Company in Indiantown, Fla., a 16,000-acre citrus operation; and director of Colorado State Bank and Trust.Caulkins also served on the boards of various community and civic organizations, including Children’s Hospital of Denver, Mile High Club (past president), Colorado finance chairman for George H.W. Bush’s 1980 presidential campaign, Brandywine River Museum of Chadds Ford, Pa., Yale University Development Board, White House Endowment Committee, and Hill School of Pottstown, Pa.Most recently, Caulkins made possible the construction of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, due for completion this September, with a gift to the city of Denver.Caulkins was an accomplished golfer, sailor, skier, and squash and tennis player, competing in the French Open and Wimbledon, friends and family members say. A longtime Denver resident, he was married to Ellie Newman Caulkins for the past 43 years. Along with his wife, he is survived by his eldest son, George, and his wife, Christina; his son John and his wife, Barbora; his son David; his daughter, Mary, and her husband, Karl Kister; and his son Max and his wife, Ramey. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Jonathan, William and Henry Caulkins; sisters Barbara Lamb and Christina Finkenstaedt; and a brother, John Caulkins.A younger brother, Henry Caulkins, preceded him in death.A private family ceremony is planned for early next week. Further memorial services will be held at a later date.Vail, Colorado

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