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In Memoriam

September 18, 2021


Michael Clement Morphew

October 16, 1947–August 22, 2021

Michael Clement Morphew was born in Munich, Germany, to Geraldine Louise and Marion Clement Morphew. As “military brats,” Michael and his sisters, Diana, Stephanie, and Kerry, grew up on Air Force bases around the world, following their father through his career as an Air Force pilot, though Michael always considered Boulder to be his home. (After the death of Michael’s father, Gerry married another fighter pilot, Jack Patton, whom Michael grew close to.)

Michael graduated from Wasson High School and the University of Colorado (CU). He earned his JD from CU Law School and worked as a divorce attorney and mediator in Boulder for more than 47 years. During the first few years of his practice, he worked for a number of attorneys in Boulder, primarily handling family law matters. In 1978 he accepted a position with the Boulder County District Attorney’s child support enforcement unit, where he was responsible for between 3,000 and 4,000 cases. Following his employment in the District Attorney’s office, his practice was largely limited to family law issues, although he occasionally assisted with other legal matters.

Michael had many passions in his life—travel, his career, driving his cars—but most of all, he loved golf. He was a member at Lake Valley Golf Club for over 30 years, earning the titles of club champion in 1990 and senior club champion in 2002. In 2003, his handicap was a +0.5, a huge accomplishment. Golf allowed Michael to bond with his son and sons-in-law, and he would remind them on a regular basis that golf is not about the drive but the finesse at the end of the hole. He met many lifelong friends through golf, and in the end, the game got him through a very difficult time in his life.

Michael was diagnosed with ALS in 2019. Since then, he amazed his friends and family with his powerful and peaceful disposition throughout his two-year struggle.

Michael and his partner Carol enjoyed 20 incredible years together. He was the proud and loving father of Emily and Scott, and stepfather to Sarah, Crystal, and April. Their beautiful, blended family has produced eight grandchildren, including grandson Jack, born on August 21, 2021, whom Michael was able to meet.

 

Peter H. Ney

November 11, 1931–July 28, 2021

Peter Ney died in his sleep on July 28, 2021, with his wife of 68 years curled up beside him. He was born November 11, 1931, in Nuremberg, Germany. Two nights before his 7th birthday, Peter and his family were awakened by the sounds of breaking glass and shouting. Kristallnacht was just the beginning of the Nazi violence against Jews. Two months later, Peter’s parents put him on a Kindertransport train to England. This event and its consequences would shape the rest of his long and varied life.

Peter’s parents were among the lucky few who were able to leave Germany; they joined him in England six months later and shortly thereafter secured official papers to immigrate to the United States in 1940. In Philadelphia he dropped his British accent and became a soda jerk at Gadiel’s Drug Store, where he met his lifelong companion Betty Kaplan and graduated from high school. Peter and Betty married in 1953.

As a teenager, Peter developed an ability in art and design, earning a degree in industrial design from the Philadelphia School of Fine Arts. He was drafted by the US Army and served for two years in the early 1950s. After successfully defending the US–Canadian border, he started a job at Philco designing radios. Russia’s Sputnik launch sparked his interest in the space program. In 1959, he joined Martin-Marietta to work on designing the spaceship interiors for human use. He transferred to the Denver office in 1960 and lived the remainder of his life in the Denver area.

When he grew frustrated as a “missile engineer,” a generous educational benefit through Martin offered a way forward to pursue an interest developed in the Army. He began night classes at the University of Denver (DU) Law School, and three years later, in 1966, he hung out his shingle to live a dream to “be his own boss.” He also worked part-time as an Arapahoe County deputy district attorney. He practiced solo for 22 years, with most of his cases involving criminal defense, personal injury law, and domestic relations.

Peter’s passion, however, was for the numerous cases he handled pro bono for the American Civil Liberties Union. His defense of the First Amendment brought both personal satisfaction and acclaim as he represented DU students who had been expelled for anti-war demonstrations; bookstores that sold allegedly pornographic material; movie houses that showed “racy” films; and various classes of people, including prostitutes and hippies, who were frequent targets of police harassment. In a case that was very close to his heart and mirrored his own journey from Germany, he represented a Vietnamese mother who had placed her son temporarily with an American organization to protect him from the chaos of the fall of Saigon in 1972 but who was adopted by a well-intentioned Colorado couple who thought the boy was orphaned. Peter argued successfully that mother and son should be reunited.

In 1988, Peter became a judge on the Colorado Court of Appeals. A DU law review article concluded that the dominant theme of his rulings was to balance the rights of individuals against the coercive power of the government. He served until he was required to retire in 2003 at age 72. He continued to serve as a senior judge, taught law at Arapahoe Community College, and wrote his memoir, Getting Here: From a Seat on the Train to a Seat on the Bench.

Peter is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betty; his children Linda (husband Peter Saeta), Diane (husband Dan Visser), and Richard (wife Pam Muncaster); and grandchildren Brennan, Ethan, Ryan, Kyle, Kendell, Hannah, Abby, and Thomas.

 

Teri Lynne Roberts

December 31, 1957–July 22, 2021

The Colorado Bar Association lost one of its own when Teri Lynne Roberts, 63, passed away suddenly on July 22, 2021. She will be sorely missed by her friends, family, and work family at the CBA.

Teri was born on December 31, 1957, in California to Adonna Aul and J. L. Bibb. The second eldest of her siblings, Teri was always bright. She was a gifted musician (accordion, violin, and clarinet) and writer. One of her favorite memories was marching with her high school band in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. Always an animal lover, Teri enjoyed the companionship of many pets throughout her life, including her pug, Spanki, who was by her side until the very end. Teri loved to bake, cook, embroider, and sew. She also loved the mountains in Colorado, and throughout her life enjoyed hiking 14ers, skiing, and camping.

A hard worker, Teri held employment in a variety of industries, including law, mining, and ballistic missiles. She was well known for her humility, wonderful sense of humor, infectious laugh, and positive attitude, and she will be remembered as a fantastic mother, daughter, and friend. Her family takes comfort in knowing that Teri is now at peace and has joined her father, who passed away in 2018.

Teri is survived by her two children, Jeremy Freiberg and Stephani Roberts; her loyal pup, Spanki; her grandpup, Winnie; her mother, Adonna Wilkinson; and her siblings, Lynda Whittington, Randy Bibb, and David Bibb.

Tributes

I met Teri a few days after I started working at the CBA. She had been out sick with the flu. She came speed-walking into the office, not saying hello to anyone, and I abruptly shouted, “You must be Teri?!” We instantly bonded over our love of hot dogs, and the rest is history. From two-hour phone conversations, to counting down how many “10 minutes” were left in the workday, to our bear hugs when we were upset and our laughing-till-we-almost-peed afternoons, Teri was, and always will be, one of the best people I’ve ever known. She will be missed dearly, and I will think of her anytime I put ketchup on my hotdog or when I can see Pike’s Peak on a clear day.

—Marissa Lobato, Accounting and Finance

 I remember my interview with Teri when we first hired her. We talked about the receptionist position and the fact that she was overqualified for what we were looking for, and she laughed. Oh, the laugh she had was infectious. She said that she wanted to slow down in life so she could enjoy where she was. Can’t we all relate to that. As it turns out, she was overqualified, and she quickly moved up to membership manager. She lit the room everywhere she went. You just had to smile when you saw her no matter how your day was going. And then she would inevitably give you that laugh while talking to her and all problems seemed to be much lighter. We will forever miss her, but her spirit shall live on in our kitchen (where we would laugh the most) and in our hearts.

—Melissa Nicoletti, Sections and Committees (ret.)

The last time I saw Teri was at our weekly Communications Department Zoom meeting. When Communications Director Heather Folker saw Teri’s face pop up, she said, “Teri—what are you doing here?! You’re on vacation!” Teri said, “Oh, you know how it goes—I have so much work!” Heather responded sternly, “No, Teri, you have to go!” Teri laughed, waved, and logged off, and when her face disappeared from our screens, I’m sure we were all just a little bit disappointed. Nobody loves Zoom meetings, but everyone loved Teri.

—Susie Klein, Communications and Membership

Though I didn’t work closely with Teri, thinking of her makes me smile because that’s the image I have of her in my mind. She was usually wearing a smile. The genuine kind.

 —Mel Reveles, Information Technology

I have two stories to share. The first is from a conversation we had the day before she passed. I’d gone by her desk to say hi and catch up a little bit. We were talking about everything going on in our lives, and she brought up all the crazy things that had been happening in her neighborhood recently. One of those things was a naked man running around the complex looking scared and confused. She told me her neighbor came over and said, “Did you see that guy running around completely naked?” and she said she went to go check it out. Then, in true Teri fashion, she told me that she went right up to this man and asked him what the heck his problem was! I couldn’t believe it, and I laughed so hard. She said he was confused and scared, so she did her best to calm him down and get a blanket on him, telling him “You’re scaring everyone.” I can’t explain how much I love that she got to tell me this story. It reminds me how fearless and unmeasurably kind Teri was. I don’t know a single other person that would’ve done what she did in that situation.

The second is from early 2019. I had been promoted to program assistant but my position at the front desk hadn’t yet been filled, so I was unexpectedly left doing both jobs in the middle of conference season. It was very stressful, but I was handling it for the most part. But one day, following a bad conversation/misunderstanding with a coworker, I broke down. I’ve never cried at work up to that point or since, but it was just one of those days. Teri jumped into action. She just wrapped her arms around me and let me get it all out. She didn’t say anything, she didn’t offer any advice, she just held me—which was extra special since I didn’t have my mom close by at that time. Sometimes you just need your mom, even as a grownup. Teri had the biggest heart and the best hugs. She was an amazing friend, confidant, human being, and soul, and I will miss her dearly.

Kiley Chernicky, CBA-CLE