Frank Sargent, 89, remembers the time, years ago, when an Englewood preschool program that distributed food and clothing was financially struggling. He approached Peter Neidecker to ask if he knew someone who could help.
"Peter, I'm coming to you …
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"Peter, I'm coming to you because you might know somebody — but don't do it yourself," Sargent recalled. "And he said, 'Tell me how much it is, what it's for and where.' And I had a check.”
Neidecker, a pillar in the Englewood community and longtime member of the Rotary Club of Englewood, died Aug. 28 after struggling with heart issues, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and a recent lung infection, his son, Pete Neidecker, said. He was 92.
At the club’s Sept. 6 meeting, members shared fond memories of Neidecker and his life as a “quiet and smart servant," as Frank Sargent described him.
“He was a person with purpose in his life, and he wanted us to join him,” said Sargent, a club director and a member since 1970.
Patricia Burnett, club president, remembered his calm demeanor and perpetual smile.
Gary Sears, former Englewood city manager, referred to Neidecker affectionately as a Rotarian who was traditional in his values and giving back. Jim Bowman said he “always liked to help with everything we were doing.”
Born in Paris, Neidecker attended an English boarding school and earned a master's in engineering from Brown University in Rhode Island. He spent a large part of his well-traveled life in the Englewood and Denver metro areas. A Denver resident, he was a part of the Englewood Rotary Club since the early 1970s, Sargent said.
His son, Pete, described him as a “generous, selfless and genuine gentleman.”
Pete recalled a trip in 1982 to Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean to fly fish with his father. Despite the sparsely-populated island’s natives’ language barrier, Neidecker somehow made several friends who produced a huge feast on the beach for him — a sight the fishing camp manager said he’d never seen before.
Bruce Spear, the club's director and former president, said Neidecker and his wife, Dora Drake Shaw — known as “Dody” — supported the club's events as Spear tried to push for more social functions during his tenure from 2014 to 2016.
“We have a happy hour (event) every month ... summer picnics, holiday parties in December,” Spear said. “They always came to those and supported that. That's the thing I remember most.”
Neidecker also volunteered as president of the United Way chapter in the Niagara area of Canada, according to his obituary, as well as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver and the board of trustees of the Kent Denver School.
“Peter's special work with the Rotary Club in his later years was his devotion to reading to children at Bishop (Elementary) School,” Burnett said. "That was his special cause.” His obituary mentions him mentoring fourth-graders at that school for more than 18 years.
The Rotary Club has a “four-part test,” which says to make decisions based on truth, being fair, building good will and better friendships, and benefiting all people concerned.
That four-part test was “what Peter was about," Sargent said. “He was a true Rotarian and a true citizen. We'll miss him.”
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