On May 22, Lakewood lost one of its biggest boosters. Hedy Margolis, whose compassion for and dedication to the disabled and military communities, passed away at the age of 80 after more than five decades of volunteerism and leadership in the city.
Born June 16, 1942 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Margolis graduated from Highland High School in before attending Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Throughout her life, Margolis continued to further her education, attending CU Denver, Metropolitan State University and Leadership of Lakewood.
According to her son, Dave Margolis, Hedy’s lifetime of service took root when she was a young volunteer counselor at an Easter Seals camp in New Mexico. She went on to become the youngest camp director in the organization’s history.
During her time in Lakewood, Hedy worked for and with the City and was instrumental in establishing the Special Populations Program and Lakewood’s Camp Paha, a summer day camp for children and young adults with disabilities, who reside in Lakewood and surrounding communities.
Hedy served as area director for the Colorado Special Olympics for 26 years and sat on its advisory board for more than two decades. She was chairperson for Colorado Coalition for Persons with Disabilities. And in 1994, she was selected as the Colorado representative to the White House for President Clinton’s signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Her service to those who served this country was on full display during her time as Rocky Mountain USO Director, where she created programs and services to provide support for Wounded Warriors, low income families and mental health programs.
She also established Colorado’s first USO Center at Denver International Airport.
In an interview for American Airline’s, Arrivals newsletter, Hedy talked about supporting the troops.
“It’s always a privilege to take care of our service men and women when they travel through Denver,” she said.
Another cause that was near and dear to Hedy’s heart was raising scholarship money for students attending Red Rocks Community College. To aid in that effort, she volunteered with Lakewood on Parade for 38 years. During her nearly 40 years with the organization, Hedy served as president twice and held numerous other positions of responsibility including a seat on the Board of Directors.
Her years of service and love for the city were celebrated many times — fitting for someone who spent a lifetime volunteering for multiple charities and nonprofits.
From adoption centers to assisted living facilities — Bonfills Blood Center to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, there were few areas where she didn’t lend a hand. In 2008, former Mayor Steve Burkholder and Lakewood’s City Council declared Feb. 28 Hedy Margolis Day. The City also honored Margolis with a Women Who Made a Difference in the 20th Century award.