Early the morning of July 4, the air was crisp, and the grass was still wet from the previous day’s rain. Many Coloradans would do what Chuck Vogel did that day – get out of bed and go for a bike …
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Early the morning of July 4, the air was crisp, and the grass was still wet from the previous day’s rain.
Many Coloradans would do what Chuck Vogel did that day – get out of bed and go for a bike ride. With relatively little traffic on what would become a warm summer holiday, a ride was welcome.
About 6:15 a.m., Jane Chrestensen's Australian shepherd, Bo, barked when he saw the familiar Vogel prepping for his morning ride. Chrestensen and Vogel greeted each other hello. They commented on the great weather and how quiet it was for a holiday.
“Our exchange was short, like most days we saw each other. But he cared,” Chrestensen wrote in an email. “He always wanted to know how we were doing, how my dogs – my ‘kids’ – were doing. And he made sure he saw both of them accompany me on our walks… to ensure they were both there and well.”
About 6:20 a.m., Vogel, 64, was struck by a car on his bike near the Parker Core Knowledge School, at Pine Drive and Centennial Drive. First responders took Vogel to Parker Adventist Hospital with severe injuries. He succumbed to his injuries the next day.
Authorities continue to investigate the incident as a hit-and-run. The suspected vehicle, a silver Kia sedan, was recovered July 6 at the Town and Country Townhomes near downtown Parker. It had apparently been abandoned. As of July 15, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office did not have a suspect in custody.
Chrestensen lost her neighbor, as did many in the community. Vogel, it seems, was a neighbor to all.
“I just can’t shake how such an awful thing could happen to such a wonderful man," Chrestensen said.
‘Nothing was left unsaid’
Teri Vogel doesn’t have the words anymore, she said. No one expects to lose a loved one, a best friend of nearly half a century, so suddenly. The afternoon of July 12 was just another long day in a series of them since the incident. The powerful, raw emotions were still present, and when she would mention her husband's smile or his laugh, her voice caught.
“He spoiled me,” she said. “Nothing was left unsaid.”
Chuck Vogel leaves behind many relatives, including his only son, Bryan, and daughter-in-law. In a few more weeks, he would have been a grandfather for the first time. Yet through his service, before and while he lived in Parker, he became a mentor to countless others.
Chuck and Teri met in high school in El Paso, Texas, and would have been married 41 years in August. He worked his way up the corporate retail ladder for 37 years, until he retired in 2013 as the manager at the Park Meadows J.C. Penney.
The Parker community has expressed grief over the loss of a well-loved man.
“I know Chuck would be saying to them, ‘Just live your life fully and help those that you can and try to make a difference if you can and live with integrity and do the right thing, even when it’s hard or when no one’s looking,’” Teri Vogel said. “Always do the right thing, and that’s going to work out for you.”
Teri Vogel said if people wish to help the family, they should by volunteering and donating to local charities. A man with immense energy to serve others, Chuck volunteered as much as he could, whenever he could.
“He never did it for credit or recognition. That was just part of his integrity and his generous demeanor,” Teri Vogel said. “He didn’t do what he did to be in the limelight.”
A passion for service
To those who knew him, Vogel was a man who made Parker better.
A volunteer with the Parker Task Force and a family man with a heart to help others, Vogel was special, said Steve Budnack, volunteer chairman with the Parker Task Force.
“It’s been a privilege to walk alongside Chuck all these years,” Budnack said. “He had a heart to serve.”
Vogel was widely known in the community as a compassionate, family man. He worked closely with schools through the weekend backpack program and school food drives. Budnack said Vogel was called to be there once he retired to serve others.
“He would never say ‘no’ to anything I’d ask him to do,” Budnack said. “He was an instrumental part of the Parker Task Force.”
Cheryl O’Brien is a member of the Cherry Creek Valley Rotary of Parker. She works with the Young Rotarians and Interact programs as wells as clubs in Parker. She met Vogel through a service project that originated at Gold Rush Elementary.
“His passion, ability to clearly communicate the mission of the Parker Task Force, and his genuine desire to relate to these Young Rotarians was evident from his first word,” O’Brien said. “I had spoken to Chuck many times. Each one, his genuine passion for service was evident. His strong and calming nature made it easy to get to know him. His service was unprecedented through this project and he will be missed.”
Holding on to the joy
Teri Vogel chooses not to let the incident affect the way she lives. She loves to bike — her whole family does. It was one of the many activities they enjoyed together.
“You can’t let things steal your joy. We’ve already had a lot taken from us,” Teri Vogel said. “Maybe we feel closer to him by continuing to ride, because that’s what gave him joy.”
Chuck Vogel was the go-to guy. By all accounts, he was reliable, friendly and passionate. He biked, he hiked, he snow-shoed, fly-fished, paddle-boarded and that was only his down time. A resident of 10 years, he was best known as a man with a heart to help others.
The Vogel family thanks the Parker community for their support.
“If any good can come of this, we need to take (this incident) and highlight it,” Teri Vogel said. “Even in his death, his life lives on. His life of giving continues even in passing. That does bring some comfort.”
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