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Couple’s spirit of generosity lives on through charitable giving

March 20, 2019

For Rowe and Elizabeth “Betty” Rudolph, giving back was part of their DNA.

The third-generation Denver natives were bastions of the community, constantly giving their time and resources to various nonprofits, including Craig Hospital.

Their commitment to philanthropy extended beyond their lives. Following Rowe’s death in 2012 and Betty’s death in June 2018, the couple’s charitable remainder trust made a generous gift to Craig.

Rowe and Betty both attended Denver’s East High School, but they didn’t meet until they both attended the University of Colorado in the 1940s.

Rowe served with the Army in World War II, where he earned five battle stars and a Bronze Star. He returned to Denver to marry Betty in 1946 and started in a position in insurance sales. The couple moved to the East Coast, but they missed Denver so much that they soon moved back.

“At the time, he was told that coming back to Denver was committing financial suicide, because it was just a cow town,” says the couple’s daughter, Ann Byrd. “He didn’t care; he loved Denver.”

Rowe and other young people helped fuel Denver’s post-war growth, according to Ann.

“He started in insurance, and then his career took off into financial and estate planning,” she says. “He was really at the leading edge of that field.”

Rowe was known for his clear and defined morals and outgoing, gregarious personality, while Betty was quiet, a voracious learner and gracious to all who met her.

At some point, Rowe was introduced to Craig Hospital and served as a member of both the hospital and foundation boards from 1967 to 1980. He used his influence to encourage others — many of his clients were Denver’s first multimillionaires — to give their wealth away to such places as Craig.

Ann believes that her father’s support of Craig might have been due to seeing his fellow soldiers sustain devastating injuries during World War II. “He never understood why some guy next to him was injured but he was not. It was very difficult for him to talk about. He was very gratified by the work done at Craig to help reintegrate people following serious injuries.”

Rowe and Betty spent much of their time attending and hosting charity benefits and events for a variety of causes, including Craig, Meals on Wheels, the Assistance League of Denver, the Boy Scouts, Denver’s Community Chest, the ballet, the symphony, the Arthritis Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Rudolphs taught their three daughters — Cathy, Joni and Ann — the importance of serving.

“They taught us that the biggest part of our lives should be helping others, and that sacrificing our own resources always comes back to us as a benefit,” says Ann. “Their love and tolerance of all people made the most profound impact on us — we miss them greatly.”


Frank Craig Society members such as Rowe and Betty have made plans in their wills or estates to leave a legacy gift to Craig. These contributions make a significant difference in the future of Craig, creating a lasting legacy for the donor while helping ensure independent futures for those Craig serves. For more information about planned giving or if you have already included Craig in your estate plans, please contact Jacquie Hall at 303-789-8208 or jahall@craighospital.org.