Have You Met?

When LaFawn Biddle and I met for lunch - close to her home - at the beautiful landmark Wellshire Inn to talk about her years of service to the community, we both agreed that it was nice to be dining at such a lovely place with a rich history and a bit of staying power - since some restaurants open, and close soon after.

Well known for her charitable involvements and outstanding volunteer services, the distinguished and honorable LaFawn Biddle is loved and respected by the Denver Community. LaFawn is a strong, glorious woman with traditional values – who also is witty and has a fun sense of humor.

One of LaFawn’s passions has been supporting and advocating services for the deaf and hard of hearing populations. The Biddles’ two daughters and three of their five grandchildren were born with a form of hereditary hearing loss. LaFawn stresses that the early identification and early intervention of hearing losses are crucial to providing a hearing impaired person with the treatment they need to live a normal life.

In October 2005, LaFawn was recognized by the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center for her support of the schools’ baccalaureate and graduate nursing education programs. She is a member of “Friends of Nursing”, a group that raises funds for nursing scholarships. The alumni association paid this tribute to LaFawn: “Mrs. Biddle has always been at the heart of fund-raising efforts and has graciously and effectively guided efforts around the state giving unsparingly of her time, resources and energy.”

When asked how she is doing after the death of her husband (Dusty Biddle) of 53 years, LaFawn reflects: “There are so many good memories that it makes it bearable.” This is a testament to the strength, wisdom and resilience of LaFawn Biddle.

What charitable organizations are you involved with at this time? Friends of Nursing; the Adventist Hospitals: Porter, Littleton, Porter Hospice & Hospice of Peace; The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf; Auditory-Verbal International; Sertoma; Rainbow Bridge and Tennyson Center for Children.

What charitable event do you really look forward to attending each year? “Heart of Hearts” the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and the annual Porter Hospital Gala.

What do you consider your proudest achievement? Parenting two well adjusted daughters.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Southern California.

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be? “COME WITH ME” (A farm girl’s journey through a career in radio, 53 years of marital happiness and parenting two daughters challenged by hearing loss.)

Is there a book you have read that really inspired you that you can recommend to others? “SHUT UP AND LIVE (You Know How)” by Marion Downs. Right now I am reading several good ones: “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, “What Does God Want” by Michael Scanlon & James Manney, and “Dinner with a Perfect Stranger” by David Gregory.

Who is the most interesting person you have ever met? My husband, Dusty. I've met some fascinating people in my life, but if you asked me what were the qualities that Dusty embodied that make him the most fascinating - my answer would be:

He was genuine. There was no pretense in his approach to living and problem-solving. He had a rare sense of humor and coined phrases that our friends often referred to as "Dustyisms". This made him fun company. He was a South Dakota farm boy who began to explore the world with his Uncle Dusty the day after he graduated from high school. His Oklahoma University educational experience and subsequent career in several facets of the oil industry in Texas and Colorado were foundations for achievement. He was fair but a discerning decision-maker. His firm handshake reflected his commitment to sincerity. He was genuine and generous. He was interesting and fun. I'm so glad our paths crossed.

It sounds like you have many wonderful memories of your life with Mr. Biddle; what was one of your most memorable times spent with Dusty? We celebrated New Year’s Eve one year in a nightclub in Paris, France. When we saw a man chasing a woman through the club, I said to Dusty: “This must be part of the entertainment.” Then a gunshot rang out, and Dusty said: “Do you think that is part of the entertainment too?” It turned out that the nightclub was being robbed.

What do you consider a priceless gift? Someone expressing confidence in me.

What word best describes your life right now? Grateful reflection.

What is your fondest childhood memory? “Playing House” with my younger sister and niece. We were all near the same age.

What is something your parents taught you that you have never forgotten? A sense of trust and the ability to reason.

Do you have a quote or saying that has helped guide you through life? “There is a destiny that makes us brothers. None goes his way alone. All that we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own.” E. Markham

A favorite poem?
Trust Build a little fence of trust
Around today;
Fill each space with loving work
And therein stay;
Look not through the sheltering bars
Upon tomorrow;
God will help thee bear what comes
Of joy or sorrow.
- Mary Frances Butts

What are you focusing most on these days? Organizing my life as a single person after 53 years of marriage.

What is your greatest strength? Happy memories of my 80 years.

What do you still want to learn how to do? To see the world through the eyes of my grandchildren.

How do you stay so motivated and committed to your causes? Projects that make a difference in the lives of others in this world nudge me to act.

What are your favorite leisure time activities or hobbies? Reading and writing.

Is there a special “aha” moment in your life when you knew “Okay, I get it now….”? Nope. I’m still trying to figure out “if I’ve got it” yet….

What is your biggest fear? No overwhelming fear.

Do you have any regrets? More gratitude than regrets.

If you could change one thing in someone else’s life, what would it be? I would spare a friend the pain of cancer.

What do you like the most about yourself? The ability to love.

What should we all be working on these days to make our country better for future generations? Understanding ourselves and our reactions to circumstantial challenges.

How do we get our young people interested in charitable work and giving back to the community? By helping them see they are making a difference.

What’s in the future for LaFawn Biddle? Enjoying my family.

How would you like to be remembered by future generations? As trying to make a difference.

A Partial List of the Boards & Committees LaFawn Biddle has served on: Auditory-Verbal International (AVI); Portercare Hospitals Foundation (Chairman of the Heart of Hearts Benefit 1991 & 1992); Friends of Nursing; St. Mary’s Academy; Hear Now; Ladies of the Petroleum Club; Denver Ballet Guild (Co-Chairman of Le Bal De Ballet in 1989); David Taylor Dance Theatre; Colorado Ballet Auxiliary; Alexander Graham Bell Foundation; Denver Chamber Orchestra; First Plymouth Congregational Church; Acoupedic Network; Communication Disorders Clinic-University of Colorado; Utah State University, Curriculum Development with emphasis on Educational Audiology; Wallace Village for Children.

Some of LaFawn’s Awards & Recognitions: 2005 University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center Recognition of Support for the Nursing Education Programs; 2003 Sertoma Honors, 2001 Arapahoe House along with husband “Pillars of the Community”; 1998 “Woman of Distinction” Girl Scouts of America Mile High Chapter; 1997 Recipient with husband of the “Tribute Award” from the Mental Health Association of Colorado. 1996 “Woman of the Year” named by the Villager Newspaper, 1996 Recipient of the “Volta Award,” by the A.G. Bell Association for the Deaf; 1996 Creation by the Colorado Chapter of the A.G. Bell Association of “The LaFawn Biddle Award” for Outstanding Service; 1995 Denver’s Rocky Mountain News “Women of Distinction Award” for Civic Accomplishments; 1994 Recipient of The University of Denver Alumni “Community Service Award”; 1993 Denver Ballet Guild “Outstanding Community Volunteer” recognition; 1985 “Service Commendation” together with husband – the Denver Ear Institute.