Constance Lewis Calkin

May 10, 1933
- June 05, 2005

MILO AND DENVER - Glitter covered drawings of grandma and grandchildren, of a little house in Mexico, of pretty sunsets told the story of Connie Calkin. Her seven grandchildren made the pictures to cheer her up as she lay bedridden battling cancer a few months ago. The artwork covered an entire wall in her bedroom, reminding everyone that the blue-eyed, silver haired woman sparkled most in the company of family, friends and students. "She was incredibly beloved," said Carole Fee Ivanoff, Ms. Calkin's close friend.
Ms. Calkin, longtime director of field studies at the University of Denver School of Social Work and co-founder of Big Sisters of Colorado, died June 5, She was 73.
Constance Lewis Calkin was born May 10, 1933, in the tiny town of Milo, Maine, to Verna Mildred Lewis and Arthur Sherwood Lewis.
Academically gifted, Ms. Calkin met her husband through honor societies at the University of Maine, where she studied history and sociology. They were married in 1956.
Ms. Calkin worked first as a second-grade teacher, then as a child welfare worker in Maine.
The couple moved to Colorado in 1959, two months after the birth of their first child, John. Ann and Amy followed in 1961 and 1963. Ms. Calkin earned a master's degree in social work form the University of Denver in 1968 and then used her gift for people on a larger scale; to help found Big Sisters of Colorado.
She served as its second executive director in the mid-1970s. Her gregarious personality quickly brought mentors and children into the organization. The same ability to make people feel special helped Ms. Calkin shine in her role as director of field studies at the University of Denver.
Gracious to the end, when Ms.Calkin leaned in December her cancer would be fatal, she hand-wrote notes to her friends.
When asked what she made of her death, Ms.Calkin said. "I've had a great life," Ivanoff recalls. "I'm going to a better place."
Ms.Calkin is survived by her husband Bill; children AmyGlen, Ann Sauer and John Calkin; and seven grandchildren.
A memorial service was held, June 25 in Boettcher Community Room, Craig Hall, in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver.


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