Justin Pilcher: A short life, well lived

Congressman Ed Perlmutter and his wife Nancy, and political consultant Audrey Kline and her husband Justin Pilcher at the wedding of Rep. Brittany Pettersen and Ian Silverii at the Governor’s Mansion in 2017. Pilcher’s memorial service was Saturday. (SOS photo)

A while back I got into a Twitter spat with Audrey Kline, a great young Democrat I’ve encountered over the years, and when we talked in person about our 140-character standoff she explained her reasoning to me:

Rep. Jessie Danielson holds her daughter Isabelle at a reception following a memorial service for Justin Pilcher Saturday. (SOS photo)

Her husband had a rare form of cancer and where would people be without Obamacare.

Justin Spencer Pilcher died Feb. 25 at the age of 33.

It was standing-room only at his memorial service Saturday at Olinger Crown Hill, and as I looked at the sports paraphernalia and Scouts uniform and the videos, all I could think of was the ending of the indelible movie “Brian’s Song:”

Brian Piccolo died of cancer at the age of 26. He left a wife and three daughters. He also left a great many loving friends who miss and think of him often. But when they think of him, it’s not how he died that they remember — but how he lived. How he did live!”

Candace Kline set up a Go Fund me page for her sister, Audrey Kline. (SOS photo)

Kline and Pilcher, who would have celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary in April, did not have any children, but they had a great deal of loving friends and family.

At the memorial, Martha Pilcher recalled her joyous son and his fellow Pomona High School Panthers jumping on top of each other when they won the Colorado 5A state baseball championship in 2003. Kline remembered her husband going to Costco and loading up on snacks for her fellow campaign workers because he knew she cared so much about them.

Before she spoke, the widow said she wanted to take a minute to look around the room at Olinger and take in who was there. Afterward, she said one of the few things she could recall was Rep. Jessie Danielson’s 8-month-old daughter Isabelle waving at her from the back of the room.

A table of mementos from Justin Pilcher’s short life, including Pomona High School sports and his Eagle Scout activities. (SOS photo)

Kline’s career included a stint as deputy campaign manager for Congressman Ed Perlmutter, aide for state Sen. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge, and campaign manager and consultant for a host of other campaigns.

Perlmutter and his wife Nancy, a teacher who knew Justin’s mom from their time doing PTA-school union activities — at times they were on opposite sides of issues  — attended the memorial service and reception afterward.

Others at the service  included Reps. Chris Kennedy and Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Westminster City Councilwoman Emma Pinter.

“My heart aches without your quick wit and sweet kindness, but we did a cheers with thin mints in your honor today cuz 💚 love you beyond all words,”  one of Pilchner’s cousins posted on Kline’s Facebook page after the service.

She’s also known for her own quick wit: On Tuesday Kline posted a map of an elementary school and wrote: “Send snacks (and/or liquor) plz. #caucusnite”

At the reception after the memorial service for Justin Pilcher: Nancy Perlmutter, Pilcher’s wife Audrey Kline, Congressman Ed Perlmutter and Andy Kabza, holding his and Rep. Jessie Danielson’s daughter Isabelle. (SOS photo)

Something Pilcher posted on Facebook back in 2011 was laminated and shared at the memorial and reception:

“Funerals always help me to strip away all the garbage and get back to basics…love God and love people, that’s it. I don’t want to die, but I don’t fear it. Amazing the peace in my soul knowing I have a home in heaven not because of who I am, but whose I am.”

3 thoughts on “Justin Pilcher: A short life, well lived”

  1. Lynn, Thanks for the beautiful tribute. A young man gone too soon but making us all appreciate the days we have on this beautiful earth. My prayers and thoughts are with his lovely widow and his close friends.

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