In Memory

Jill Gamblin (Rosentrater)

Jill Gamblin (Rosentrater)

     East High Leopards
Class of 1965

Jill Gamblin Rosentrater Jil Rosentrater’s Life a ‘Work of Art’ Jil Rosentrater led a life enriched by the arts and fueled by her crusade that the arts should be accessible to everyone. A long-time Coloradoan, Jil died on Sunday, February 17, 2013 after a courageous struggle with cancer. She was the Director Art in Public Places for the State of Colorado since 2006. “The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation honored Jil for her singular role in shaping Greeley’s cultural scene, including the development of the Union Colony Civic Center and still-popular programs such as the community arts picnic. In more recent years, Jil’s work leading the state’s public art program has left a lasting impact on communities throughout Colorado,” said Dorothy Horrell, president of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. “In many ways, Jil’s life was like a work of art, leaving people inspired and enriched for the privilege of having known her,” Horrell said. In her capacity as the state’s public art director, Jil has been responsible for helping to acquire and place 46 different art installations in public facilities worth $4,753,439 and protecting many more. Most recently she facilitated the art installations in the new Colorado Justice Center and the Colorado History Museum. She worked with hundreds of artists and dozens of art selection juries to facilitate finding artists and placing art pieces in public places such as college campuses around the state. Jil’s illustrious 35- year career included 25 years as Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Greeley, during which she helped to conceive, raise funds, open and program the Union Colony Civic Center. Jil helped to create the Centennial Village, the Arts Picnic, Union Colony Civic Theater and Greeley Historic Preservation Commission. She established a one percent for the arts funding program, a library district and the Greeley public art program. She oversaw the growth and outreach of four museums and the city library. She organized numerous special programs including a piano competition for young adults; a millennium project filling time capsules to be opened in one hundred years; a Sister City program with Moriya, Japan involving sharing of cultures, and brought Artrain, a traveling train artwork exhibit to Greeley; and organized the community celebration for the opening of the old train depot after a decade of vacancy. Jil was Executive Director ArtReach, Inc. from 2004-2006, a non-profit group that provides artistic experiences for Denver-area young people. In addition to the Bonfils-Stanton Arts & Humanities Award in 2000, Jil was honored with the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction award in 2009. She received the 2007 Founder’s Award – Greeley Community Foundation, and the 2003 Greeley Arts Alive! Award for support of the Arts. Jil created the Greeley Arts Alive fund as part of the Community Foundation serving Greeley, which supports striving artists in Weld County. “Some of my best memories are attending the Winter Solstice in St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York; meeting Christo when he came to Colorado to announce the “Over the River” project; listening to Loreena McKennitt sing Amazing Grace, a cappella, on the Greeley Monfort Concert Hall stage; celebrating the installation of a public art project; enjoying the lectures on “Salvador Dali” and “Olives” at Mixed Taste at the Museum of Contemporary Art; and finishing a good book,” Jil said in a book entry celebrating the Bonfils-Stanton awardees. While greatly admired in the arts community, she was perhaps even more beloved by her legions of friends and family. The youngest daughter of Louise and Richard Gamblin, Jil was born on Feb. 27, 1947 in Salt Lake City. She is survived by her husband, David Rosentrater, her sister Gae Gamblin Miller, and dozens of close relatives, whom she loved and spoiled. She never forgot a birthday, graduation or holiday. Jil was renowned for her chocolate chip cookies that she baked and gave others for nearly any occasion. She was a member of the century-old Greeley Women’s organization of WTK, served on the boards of KUNC, the Greeley Community Foundation, and many other organizations. Jil loved traveling with her husband, a 10-year employee of Frontier Airlines and 30 year employee at the University of Northern Colorado. She and friends enjoyed visiting places like Santa Fe, N.M., Jackson Hole, Wyo., the Virgin Islands and New York City, as well as the entire State of Colorado. She possessed an uncanny ability to seamlessly weave an amazing educational experience into any otherwise casual outing. Jil received a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Colorado in 1969 and was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority. She and David were married in December, 1970, and moved to Greeley immediately thereafter. Jil worked at the Greeley Area Chamber of Commerce, from 1972-1978. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Greeley Community Foundation, Arts Alive fund, or any preferred arts organization in Jil’s name. A celebration of her life will take place at a later date. 

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01/09/15 12:09 PM #1    

Jill Wonnacott (Dunford)

I didn't know about Jill's passing either.  We were in elementary school together and on through high school.  Because we both had the same name, the teacher called me "Jilly".  I was so impressed with all of the dynamic and culture-developing work she did during her years in Colorado.  I am proud to share her name.

01/13/15 04:54 PM #2    

Irene Larson (Bole)

I have so many fond memories of Jill and her cousin Marcia Edwards.  They hosted the best slumber parties.  Jill introduced me to eating chocolate chip cookie dough.  She served a big bowl full at one of her parties and I became hooked.  I was so sad to hear of her passing.  She was a very talented lady.

01/29/15 04:37 PM #3    

Karren Kelly (Hammer)

Jill was one of our gang on the avenues who wandered about late at night beginning, I think, in junior high, busy doing crazy things.  I'm not sure what made our evenings so fun but they were events that I never wanted to miss.  We would meet at Marcia or Jill's on "I" Street, come up with a plan and off we would go.  I never realized that among us we had such talent as is evident in the beautiful obituary of our dear friend, Jill.  It makes me sad that I never fully appreciated many of her special gifts but I certainly appreciated and love the precious, darling, lively friend who enhanced, especially in earlier years, my life immensely.  I'm not surprised she had such a stellar life.  I can imagine her enthusiasm  to do all that she did.  I was so sad to learn of her passing and miss her.

01/30/15 12:04 AM #4    

Jodee Reed

I remember those slumber parties and roaming around. One night we found a hubcap in the gutter and we sat up on Jill's lawn and when a car would drive by we would throw it out in the street. The driver would stop when he would see the hubcap and walk around to check each wheel then realize nothing was missing on his car and drive on. For some reason we thought this was hilarious. became good friends during our junior year when neither of us made it into pep club, and we went to the games together because all our friends would be riding and sitting with the pep club. She tried out again her senior year and made it. At our 30th reunion I was just leaving on a world trip and she asked me to send her postcards from all the places, which I did, then at the 40th she asked about the places( she could remember!) and I heard about all her work in supporting the arts. We talked and talked. I'm so sad she won't be with us this time. Hers was one of the faces I pictured when I heard about the reunion. I will miss her. 

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