Paul Gerard “Jerry” Gart

Paul Gerard “Jerry” Gart

Death 13 Oct 1996 (aged 62)
Colorado, USA
Burial Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA
Memorial ID 72433814 · View Source
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Denver Post, The (CO) - October 13, 1996

Deceased Name: Sports retailer dies at 62 Jerry Gart succumbs to stroke complications

Jerry Gart, the man who brought the "Sports Castle" to Broadway in Denver and helped make the Gart name one of the best-known in Colorado retailing, died yesterday at Rose Medical Center of complications from a series of strokes. He was 62.

Gart led the family business, Gart Brothers Sporting Goods, with his brother, three sons and an uncle after taking the reins from his father, Nathan, who opened the chain's first store on Larimer Street in 1928.

The tight-knit family-run business enjoyed extreme success in Denver for three generations, becoming a multimillion-dollar chain before the family got out of the business in 1992.

"Our families go way back, to the '20s in early Denver," said longtime friend Barry Hirschfeld, of A.B. Hirschfeld Press. "My grandfather and his father, Nate, were best friends, and Jerry and my father were also best friends. He spanned two generations with me and my father. We were all such good friends.

"He was such a vital man. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for his friends."

Added Eddie Robinson, president of Robinson Dairy, who had known Gart since they were young men: "He was a very strong businessman and a good family man."

Gart was born on Dec. 31, 1933, in Denver. He graduated from North High School and attended the University of Colorado.

On Sept. 8, 1954, he married Sally Striker in Denver. They had met on the ski slopes of Winter Park, when Gart, who was an enthusiastic and well-rounded athlete, stopped to help Sally after she had fallen.

In 1954, Gart entered the family sporting goods business under his father's wings, said son Ken Gart.

"My grandfather started it, then Dad built it up."

Jerry Gart was a pioneer in retailing, said Ken, as one of the first to open a "big specialty store" - the landmark location on 10th Avenue and Broadway in Denver.

"He was forward-thinking and a tremendous trendsetter.

"He was the king of the castle."

The "Sports Castle," still Denver's largest sporting goods retail site, was opened in 1970 in a converted automobile dealership.

In 1986, with 17 stores and more than 1,000 employees, the family business was sold to Thrifty Corp. of Los Angeles. However, the family, under Jerry, continued to operate the stores, and the company branched out with stores in Utah and St. Louis, Mo.

In 1988, Gart Bros. Sporting Goods purchased downtown Denver rival Dave Cook, ending a decades-long, friendly family rivalry.

The Garts ended their association with the sporting goods retailer that bears the family name in 1992. The family entered the real estate business, developing and selling condominiums - the Seasons at Avon - in 1993. The family re-entered the sporting goods industry in January of 1994 when they bought Grand West Outfitters.

Jerry Gart was an avid outdoorsman and skier, and Vail was one of his favorite vacation destinations, Ken said.

He was a chairman of the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau and sat on the boards of the Denver Chamber of Commerce, Rose Medical Center and First Interstate Guarantee Bank. He was active with cultural and charitable organizations.

"The Gart family, led by Jerry, has contributed a tremendous amount to the development of the city throughout the years," said Colorado National Bank chairman Bob Malone.

Gart suffered a stroke in the summer of 1993.

"He had learned to live with his first stroke," Hirschfeld said, adding that Gart recovered most of his facilities and enjoyed many of the activities he had in the past.

But a series of strokes took a toll on the retailing giant, and he needed around-the-clock nurses. The family had recently sought specialized aid in California, from where Gart had returned prior to his death.

"It's a shame he was struck so early in life because Jerry was a guy who truly did love life," said Malone. "He was a very strong-willed man," Hirschfeld said. "That's why even with this handicap (the strokes), he wouldn't let it get the best of him."

He is survived by his wife; three sons, Ken, Tom and John, all of Denver; a brother, Mickey; an uncle, Melvin; and four grandchildren.

A service will be held at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow, at Temple Emanuel, 51 Grape St.

Contributions may be made to the Jerry Gart Assistance Fund at Craig Hospital, 3425 S. Clarkson St., Englewood, 80110. The fund benefits patients with head injuries and their families.

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  • Created by: Dr. Andree Swanson
  • Added: 1 Jul 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 72433814
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Paul Gerard “Jerry” Gart (31 Dec 1933–13 Oct 1996), Find a Grave Memorial no. 72433814, citing Congregation Emanuel Cemetery, Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Dr. Andree Swanson (contributor 47094290) .