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Ric Morgan, Bob Roth, and Kevin W. Williams

April 2024

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Frederick N. “Ric” Morgan

July 30, 1953–February 17, 2024

Ric MorganRic Morgan passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, February 17, 2024, while working in his law office at his rural Elbert County ranch. Ric was a beloved attorney and leader who made a significant impact in fostering access to justice for veterans, rural residents, and other underserved Coloradans across the state.

Ric was born on July 30, 1953, in Arlington, Virginia, to LaHonda Jo (Walton) and John Daniel Morgan. After attending Langley High School in Langley, Washington, Ric spent several years at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs before finishing up his undergraduate studies at Colorado State University in 1978 with a degree in physics/geology.

Ric began his distinguished military career in 1979 when he was commissioned into the US Navy. His Navy assignments took him all over the world and to the Pentagon as he was tasked with increasing responsibilities in naval intelligence. In 1985, Ric reported to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, receiving an MS degree in space systems operations and the designation of Navy Space Specialist. For the next several years, Ric was involved in high-profile naval missions in the Middle East and former USSR.

In 1989, Ric reported to Headquarters, US Space Command, for duties in the intelligence directorate, and later deployed for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, where he performed military intelligence functions aboard the USS Kennedy and USS Saratoga. While garrisoned in Turkey, he led efforts to establish bases for US and allied combat operations within Turkey during the Gulf War. During active hostilities, Ric deployed with forward units conducting search and rescue missions along the northern Iraqi frontier.

In 1993, Ric was assigned to a NATO military intelligence task force headquartered in England and spent the next several years supporting crisis operations throughout Europe and northern Africa. During conflicts in Bosnia and Croatia, Ric supported US and NATO combat operations from various in-country locations. Ric eventually returned stateside and was assigned to US Space Command, where he served as chief of the Intelligence Watch inside of Cheyenne Mountain at NORAD.

Ric met his future wife, Claudia (Bernet), of Basel, Switzerland, while on assignment in Italy aboard the USS Belknap in 1988. After a long military career, Ric and Claudia purchased 80 acres in rural Elbert County on which to retire. They set up a sawmill and built a beautiful timber post and beam home from ponderosa pines felled from their land. Not long after his naval retirement, a local church elder approached Ric and expressed that the local community needed a good lawyer and recruited Ric to attend law school. Three years later, and at the age of 50, Ric graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and passed the bar exam in 2003.

Over the past two decades, Ric has been a passionate advocate for justice and a legal system that is accessible to all citizens. One of the ways Ric combated “legal deserts” in rural Colorado was to establish the Lawyers at the Library program, an offshoot of the Access to Justice Virtual Pro Se Clinics, which Ric helped grow and nurture throughout most of rural Colorado’s judicial districts. Ric also set up the online Colorado Legal Checkerboard, giving users free and valuable legal advice and forms.

Ric will perhaps be best known for his staunch and unwavering support and legal advocacy of military veterans. Ric was the Elbert County Veteran Service Officer for years and helped countless veterans get the assistance and benefits they deserved. He held leadership and command positions in the VFW and American Legion for decades.

Ric’s personal interests were many and included genealogy, geology, history, and ranching. Ric and Claudia established the only breeding herd of Swiss Valais Blackneck Goats in North America and were great advocates of sustainable ranching, farming, conservation, and forestry management. Ric’s knowledge of Elbert County history, from settlement times to today’s legacy ranches, was incredibly extensive. His historical knowledge of, and contributions to, the veterans interred in the Elbert Cemetery was legendary.

Ric is survived by his wife of 34 years, Claudia, and his two sons, Eric (Jennifer) and Ryan. His extended family includes three granddaughters, seven brothers and sisters, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Donations in Ric’s name may be made to the American Legion, VFW, or charity of your choice.

Robert C. “Bob” Roth Jr.

February 6, 1945–January 11, 2024

Bob Roth, of Greenwood Village, passed away quietly on January 11, 2024, from complications of prostate cancer, at age 78. A CBA HonorLife member, Bob practiced law for a total of 53 years.

Bob was born on February 6, 1945, in Racine, Wisconsin, to Robert and Lucille Roth. He lettered in football and basketball at St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Burlington, Wisconsin. He was also prom king and a lifeguard at Brown’s Lake (“undoubtedly the dreamboat of Burlington,” quips his sister, Linda). He received his undergraduate degree from St. Norbert College in 1967, where he played collegiate basketball. Bob’s education continued, and he received his law degree from Marquette University in 1970. Bob served in the Army in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where he was head prosecutor of the appeal involving the infamous William Calley, My Lai Massacre in Vietnam.

In 1974, he moved to Denver and joined the law firm Shaw and Coghill. In 1976, he and two partners started their own firm, Shaw, Spangler and Roth. In 1996, Bob joined Kutak Rock LLP as a partner. While Bob specialized in commercial transactions, corporate law, and real estate, his real passion was mergers and acquisitions.

Bob was more than a lawyer. Bob valued his profession, his clients, and even his opposing lawyers. He was a wonderful and successful attorney, partner, mentor, counselor, coach, and advocate. He was highly regarded by his peers because of his creative solutions. Bob found ways to get impossible deals done using extensive research and superb analytical and negotiating skills to find win-win solutions. He always set the tone for meetings with his quick wit and humor. He was cool and calm with his clients and opposition. Bob had a competitive nature. He was competitive in all he did, whether on the basketball court, playing cards, or in the courtroom.

Bob was the go-to guy of the Roth family support system. He loved his wife, boys, and grandchildren, and he enjoyed fishing and sports of all kinds, but especially following the Denver Nuggets. He also loved fine wine, good food, and telling funny stories. He read widely and voraciously, including most of James Patterson’s many novels. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, clients, partners, and peers, and his dog, Patches.

Bob is survived by his two sons, Michael and David; David’s wife, Natasha Pyzer Roth; his grandchildren, Sophie and Finn Roth; his brothers, Jerry (Diane) and Randy (Chris); and his sister, Linda Roth Mezera. Bob was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 42 years, Karen Trombley Roth, and his brother-in-law, Donald Mezera.

Donations in his name may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Kevin W. Williams

September 28, 1966–February 6, 2024

Kevin WilliamsThe Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) and the disability rights and legal communities lost a hero when Kevin Williams passed away on February 6, 2024. Kevin founded the CCDC’s Civil Rights Legal Program and was a leader in changing the landscape of Colorado disability rights.

Kevin was born on September 28, 1966, and grew up in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. In 1990, he moved to Colorado, where he became an enthusiastic fan of Colorado’s mountain drives, concert venues large and small, music festivals, and local brewing and distilling industries. Kevin graduated from the University of Colorado Denver in 1993 and the University of Denver College of Law (now the Sturm College of Law) in 1996.

In early 1997, directly out of law school, Kevin founded CCDC’s Civil Rights Legal Program. In that position, he crafted a central and powerful part of the disability rights enforcement effort in Colorado. Throughout his 26 years of leadership, the program grew and flourished. He brought numerous groundbreaking cases, often harnessing the power of CCDC as an organizational plaintiff, other times acting as class counsel for an influential class action. Early in his tenure, he brought in an Impact Fund grant to create a disability rights testing program that was able to proactively investigate and respond to violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act in Denver.

Kevin’s work increased access for people with disabilities in so many areas, including several major chains of stores and restaurants, at least two regional public transit systems, numerous theaters and arenas, and paths of travel in cities in Colorado and elsewhere. He advocated for disabled people under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, and the Fair Housing Act, and was a compelling and hilarious teacher and lecturer on these subjects. He worked with many other attorneys and organizations around the country who benefited from his wisdom and humor.

Kevin’s work as an advocate for disability access started with a bang when, as a third-year law student, he brilliantly and passionately advocated for his own law school to comply with the ADA, and then, shortly before graduation, took the courageous step of suing the school, securing long-overdue access improvements and an accessible graduation site. In several cases, Kevin started as a plaintiff, asserting his own rights, and later represented others against the same defendants advocating for their rights. It took a couple of tries, for example, for Red Rocks Amphitheatre to provide accessible parking, seating, and ticketing—first in Williams v. Denver, in which Kevin was the plaintiff, and later in Lucas v. Denver, in which Kevin represented his fellow disability rights rockstar Carrie Ann Lucas.

Kevin was also a mentor to many young lawyers, including disability rights powerhouse lawyers Carrie Ann Lucas, Andrew Montoya, and Chris Brock.

Throughout the years, Kevin received numerous awards for his influential work, including the Order of St. Ives from Denver Law; the Liberty Bell Award from the Denver Bar Association; the Penfield W. Tate II Freedom Award from African American Voice; the Impact Fund Celebrating Impact Award; the Ralph Carr Award from the ACLU of Colorado; and three awards over 26 years from CCDC—the Peter C. Robertson Civil Rights Advocacy Award, Paul A. Bilzi Access Award, and Laura Hershey Pen is Mightier Than the Sword Award.

Most important, Kevin was a truly wonderful colleague, co-counsel, and friend.

He is survived by his brother, stepmother, cousins, and myriad friends and colleagues who will miss him immensely.