Goodbye to the Renaissance Man, Roger Johnson. Rest in peace.

Roger Johnson at a Broncos game with his two sons, Gunnar, left, and Chris, right. (Johnson family photo)

You have to be intrigued by a guy who brings a guitar to a Christmas party and sings — the Wabash Cannonball?

Yup, Roger Johnson loved that song and plenty of other music. He was first chair in violin in high school and named his daughter, Amy, after his violin teacher. He also loved Rhapsody in Blue, which was played at his memorial service on Sunday.

I only met Roger one time but his youngest son, Chris Johnson, is Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ executive assistant, so I heard plenty about the man whom attorney Brian McConaty eulogized Sunday as a “larger than life character.”

Johnson was a doctor and a lawyer who was proud to have started the Knife and Gun Club at Denver General when he was in the ER.  He and his wife Gail Laxalt Johnson dined at the White House with President Reagan. Johnson shared his prize-winning tomatoes with everyone.

“The term ‘Renaissance Man’ is perhaps overused these days but never more accurately applied than to Roger,” McConaty said during the service.

Gaspar Perricone, who played for Northwesterrn University, and went on to become a Colorado judge.

Roger Johnson was born Oct. 23, 1928, and died May 29, 2018. He was 89. He is survived by his wife and seven children he loved to talk about. (Here is his obituary.)

Johnson attended Northwestern University where his roommate was Coloradan Gaspar Perricone, the star running back for the team when the Wildcats won the Rose Bowl in 1949 . Perricone invited Johnson to Colorado for a visit and that was it. Colorado is where Johnson wanted to live.

Johnson and Perricone were avid skiers. To pay for their lift tickets, they would play guitar and sing at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen. Both men graduated from the University of Denver School of Law and went into the Army.

Perricone went on to become a District Court judge in Colorado. Johnson went on to earn his medical degree at the University of Colorado.

“He would go to medical school during the day and then do the legal briefing work … in the evening with some court people complaining that he smelled like formaldehyde from his Anatomy Lab,” McConaty said.

Read moreGoodbye to the Renaissance Man, Roger Johnson. Rest in peace.

Hinsdale County: silver, suffragettes and a starving prospector named Alferd Packer

Hinsdale County Clerk Joan Roberts and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams in front of her vault in her Lake City office. (SOS photo)

A famous murder trial. A dog. A county clerk. A local reporter and a former journalist. And a speech by Susan B. Anthony.

My first trip to the Hinsdale County Clerk & Recorder’s office on Tuesday featured some of of my favorite things.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams had visited before — although Joan Roberts was a staffer back then and not the clerk, a job she was appointed to last year.

Hinsdale County is tiny — its population in 2015 was 774.

And Roberts prefers it that way. She and her husband honeymooned in the area 30 years ago and liked it so much she cried all the back to California, where she had grown up in Thousand Oaks. They sold their house and moved to Hinsdale County without jobs or a place to live.

“I just love it here,” she said.

Read moreHinsdale County: silver, suffragettes and a starving prospector named Alferd Packer

Huerfano’s County election: the best kind of Cruz control

Huerfano County Clerk Nancy Cruz with one of her constant smiles as Bill Knowles, a reporter with the World Journal, and Huerfano County Commissioner Gerald Cisneros talk with Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on Friday in Walsenburg. (SOS photo)

The line at the Huerfano County Clerk’s counter  never seemed to subside on Friday and Clerk Nancy Cruz said it’s not just because of Tuesday’s election.

Marriage licenses, recording documents, Motor Vehicle registrations, the growing population of Huerfano County has lots of business to do and Cruz’s staff make sure it gets done.

Of course, the election is the big thing right now and the staff and election judges were taking in ballots and scanning them on the new equipment from Dominion Voting Systems.

“What a good system,” Cruz said.

Myrna Falk used to work for the clerk’s office and now is an election judge. When asked her age, she replied, “I’m older than dirt.”

“I can remember when we hand counted ballots in the basement,” she said. “I’ve been through a lot of (election) systems, believe me. But being able to run 25 ballots at a time through (Dominion), that’s something.”

Read moreHuerfano’s County election: the best kind of Cruz control

Pat Steadman, champion for the underdog

Gov. John Hickenlooper high-fives Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, after signing Senate Bill 11, establishing civil unions for same-sex couples in Colorado, on March 21, 2013, at the History Colorado Center in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

So, Pat Steadman is finally going to let One Colorado honor him for all the work he has done to better the lives of the state’s gay and lesbian residents.

The former state senator has been passionate about gay rights for more than two decades — he cried in the streets of Denver the night Coloradans in 1992 passed Amendment 2, which prohibited laws from protecting gays from from discrimination.

“It was a very volatile, explosive evening with lots of raw emotion. It was a huge wake-up call,” Steadman said in an interview with The Denver Post in 2013.

That’s the year the legislature finally passed his measure to allow gay couples to enter into civil unions. It was a bittersweet victory for the Denver Democrat — his partner of 11 years died of pancreatic cancer a few months before the session began.

Steadman, who was term limited after the 2016 election,  will receive One Colorado’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver on Aug. 26.

Read morePat Steadman, champion for the underdog