Local historian and publisher Leland Feitz has died. He was 88 and passed away in a local hospital Sunday evening, February 10, 2013. He would have been 89 next month on St. Patrick’s Day.
Feitz was born in La Jara, Colorado on March 17, 1924 and was a resident of Colorado Springs since 1942, when he came to Colorado Springs to attend Colorado College. Feitz followed a career in public relations and advertising. He worked for 18 years for the Alexander Film Company, a Colorado Springs firm prominent in the field of movie advertising. Feitz as a young man held top jobs in the agencies of New York City and Chicago. He never forgot the experience. Later, back in the Springs he worked for several advertising and printing firms, the last being Graphic Services.
Feitz’s real interest was history and in 1967 at the advice of a friend began to write and publish concise history booklets about Colorado people and places. His Little London Press was established in 1973 and published over 40 Colorado history booklets by various authors. Their combined circulation now totals over 600,000. Twenty of the titles were written by Feitz himself, several about the Cripple Creek Mining District. In the early 1950s, he fell in love with the area around Cripple Creek and meeting many of the older residents began to write about the history of the mining towns. “Cripple Creek” “Cripple Creek Railroads” and “Myers Avenue” were early favorites of tourists to the area, which was in decline at the time. Other Colorado titles included books on Victor, Creede, Platoro and the Conejos County. And there were popular pictorials on Cripple Creek, Colorado Springs and Pueblo as well. He was a frequent contributor to the Pueblo Chieftain, KIVA Magazine, Westword, the San Luis Valley Historian and other history journals.
Later in life, at the urging of friends, Feitz began to write more personal, reflective books, among them “From 7 To 77, A Memoir of Sorts,” “Growing Up in the San Luis Valley – A Depression Era Memoir” and “Colorful Characters of Cripple Creek.”
Over time Feitz owned several homes in Cripple Creek, the first one purchased for $500. He was a member of the board of trustees for the Cripple Creek District Museum, and in the 1980s he proudly served as its director for eight years.
Feitz was a long-time member for many years of The Saturday Knights, a renowned local hiking club which has been in existence for over a century. He was the publisher of its 100-year history book. Feitz also authored the anniversary book for the Winter Night Club, of which he was a member for many years.
He was also a member for 70 years of the First Presbyterian Church, for which he once co-wrote a history titled “A Century of Service.”
In 1984 he was married to Evelyn Huff, and they enjoyed traveling throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico, trips that Feitz wrote about in “Faces and Places – The Valley and Beyond” (2006).
Feitz was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, and a sister, Maxine Adams. He is survived by a nephew Paul Adams, his wife Karen, and daughter Nicole. Other family survivors include Evelyn’s daughter, Sharon Rimes (Nicholls, Georgia) and Evelyn’s son Gary Huff, and granddaughter Valerie Mundell and her sons, Devon, Derek, and daughter Janae. Also another granddaughter Cyndi Luaricella (Beaufort, SC) and her daughters, Daniella and Michela.
Cremation is planned, followed by private inurnment at Memorial Gardens. At Feitz’s wishes, no memorial service is planned.
Donations in his memory can be made to Old Colorado City Historical Center or the Cripple Creek District Museum.