Ernest “Ernie” F. Fazekas II
Ernie Fazekas was a passionate leader in all pursuits of his life including his family, community, business, and friends. Spirited and fun-loving, he valued the outdoors and hiked whenever he could. This love of the natural world shaped Ernie’s passion for land conservation and he was instrumental in securing open spaces for Douglas County and Colorado. He loved hiking in the San Juan Mountain and the trails around Crested Butte and Ouray. He also climbed several “fourteeners” over time.
Ernie moved to Colorado in 1982 and maintained until the end that there was no other place he’d rather have lived his adult life. One of Ernie’s favorite quotes was, “If you are lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough.”
Born on October 26, 1947, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Ernie was the son of Helen Jeremias Fazekas and Ernest F. Fazekas. Ernie grew up in McKeesport and White Oak, Pennsylvania, both steel mill towns, where his family had strong ties to the Hungarian community. He was a special brother to his siblings, who both survive him: Donna Richards (Larry Dean, deceased) of Cary, North Carolina and Ken (Susie) Fazekas of Knightdale, North Carolina. Ernie is also survived by nieces and nephews, an aunt, Goldie Szarka, and cousins in Pennsylvania.
Education was important to Ernie, and he pursued it enthusiastically even in retirement. Ernie graduated from McKeesport Area High School in 1965. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1969, Masters of Arts in 1971, and Juris Doctorate in 1976, all from the University of Pittsburgh. He attended Santa Clara University Law School and the University of Denver for graduate studies, the latter of which sparked his love for Colorado.
To help finance his education, Ernie worked as a motor chair operator on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey; in steel mills in the Mon Valley, Pennsylvania; in a tire warehouse, for a moving company, and as a campaign organizer for George McGovern in the 1972 Presidential Campaign.
After graduation from Law School in 1976 he clerked for Judge Carson V. Brown, in the 25th Judicial District, Clinton County, Pennsylvania for two years. From there he accepted a position with the Blatt, Blatt, Merrone & Biel Law Firm in Atlantic City. He left New Jersey to live in Colorado where he took a position with Folkestad & Kokish, P.C., in Castle Rock in 1983. The firm eventually became Folkestad Fazekas Barrick & Patoile, P.C. which it remains today. Ernie served as the firm’s managing director from 1987-2007.
Ernie was always active in his community, believing strongly that giving to one’s community was critical to building it. Some community contributions included: a founder, Director, and Vice President of Douglas County Land Conservancy, 1987-2007; President of Castle Pines North Metro District 1988-1992; and a founder, Director, and President of the Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation, 2012-2016. The Foundation, championed by Ernie as its President, was responsible for enhancing the Phillip S. Miller Park in Castle Rock, which is the Town’s largest park project to date. Ernie was named Citizen of the Year by the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce in 2014 and recently received the Oak Leaf Award from Douglas Land Conservancy in November 2016.
Ernie retired from the practice of law on December 31, 2014. Retirement, daily hiking, and his continued community service on several non-profit Boards, were cut short by a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in early 2016. Ernie fought cancer with the same passion as he lived life until one day he was “at peace with the cosmos” and ready to go. He died on December 17, 2016, too soon for those who loved him. He leaves behind his son, Chris Mullen-Fazekas, much loved grandson Connor Haller-Mullen, friend Susan Mullen, and his dog & hiking buddy Miner.
Donations in Ernie’s memory can be made to either 1) the Castle Rock Parks and Trails Foundation online at the following link: http://crptfoundation.org/#!/donate or by sending checks to P.O. Box 724, Castle Rock, Colorado, 80104, or 2) to the Douglas Land Conservancy online: https://www.coloradogives.org/dlconservancy/overview or by check made to the Douglas Land Conservancy, mailed to P.O. Box 462, Castle Rock, Colorado, 80104.