Meet Your Neighbors: Stanton & Maria La Breche

Meet Your Neighbors: Stanton & Maria La Breche

Continuing our series of interviews with our Southern Gables neighbors, to help us get to know and appreciate each other.  Stanton and Maria La Breche raised their family in Southern Gables and have contributed greatly to the community over the years. Interviewed by Bruce McDonald.

Well, Stanton, How long have you and Maria lived in Southern Gables?

We have lived in the neighborhood for 29 years as of March 25, 2021.

Hey, that’s quite a milestone! Maybe next year on that date you could have an anniversary party and invite us all over. Now, what is it that you like about living here?

We like the relative peace and quiet and low crime, along with the well kept homes and landscapes. We especially like the million dollar views from our home of the Bear Creek Greenbelt and beyond. Certainly, we value the friendly neighborhood as witnessed during the recent heavy snowfall where a neighbor cleared my driveway with his snowblower. Southern Gables turned out to be a great place to raise our two sons. Our oldest is 40 (Ryan) and youngest is 37 (Jason). Ryan and his wife Larissa have blessed us with a granddaughter, Helena. She is two and a half years old and quite a joy. Maria enjoys babysitting her at least one day every week.

In Budapest, with Parliament building in the background.

We met at a Catholic Singles Club dance and married on Elvis Presley’s Birthday in 1977. We were fortunate to honeymoon in Hawaii and to have been back two additional times — on our 10th  anniversary and on our 25th anniversary along with our sons.

I know you’ve been active in the neighborhood association, Stanton, since we’ve written about some of your accomplishments in previous articles1

Yes, I recall that time fondly as Area 6 Representative for six years as well as my two terms as President. It was then called  the Southern Gables Home Owners Association. I am proud of my part in the negotiations with the Agricultural Ditch Company and City of Lakewood to make possible the signed entry way into our neighborhood at  Jewell and Estes. Nowadays I serve as a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain on West Warren Drive.

Maria, what kind of work did you and Stanton do during your working years — you’re both retired, right?

Yes, we’re retired. I had multiple careers including as a nurse and a Pre-K Teacher for both Jeffco R1 and Concordia Lutheran, and I also served as a substitute Elementary school teacher. Stanton worked for Jefferson County Open Space as Park Operations Manager for 40 years.

Hobbies, activities, interests…?  Stanton: Our interests together include square dancing, listening to music, gardening, reading and glamping (glamorous camping)  with our Recreational Travel Trailer Club. We were elected Co-Presidents of the club in October of last year, and invest a lot of energy into that mode of travel. We really value our time with the great people in the club. We are both involved with Saint Jude Parish activities. Maria: I am a Communion minister at St. Jude, and I teach a class weekly as well as being a substitute Religious education teacher. I also do things for the church such as handling the Welcome Table and being in charge of the Rosary Makers Group. Stanton is finishing up his second term as the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Council at St. Jude and also serves as an usher. Both of us are graduates of the 4-year Archdiocese of Denver’s Catholic Biblical School. We are very proud of having received the St. Jude Parishioner of the Year award: I was the 2011 recipient and Stanton in 2020. I enjoy working out and swimming at the gym. Stanton: I like playing golf, and belong to several leagues. I also greatly enjoy playing the piano. I’ve been taking lessons from our neighbor Leta Bontrager.2 She’s a terrific teacher. Maria and I both enjoy overseas travel and have been to many foreign countries including China, Hungary, Croatia, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. It was so cool being in Greece and on that last trip, in May 2019, I bought what I call a magic carpet in Ephesus, Turkey. Later this fall we’re looking forward to a trip to to New Zealand and Australia. Maria: I almost forgot, since we haven’t been able to do it for so long, but I like to play with the other women in the Neighborhood Bunco Club games. I hope we’ll get that going again.

In concluding our visit, I found out some little-known facts about this interesting couple. Maria immigrated to this country from Hungary as a 4-year-old during the Hungarian Revolution and can speak Hungarian. Stanton is a Denver Native and a member of the first Graduating class of John F. Kennedy High School. His Knights of Columbus Council partners with Food Bank of the Rockies in running a mobile food bank. He also is a member of a Minnesota Lake Superior Chippewa  Indian Tribe. He has entered several rodeo bull-riding events. He didn’t brag about how well he fared in the competition, but said that it was when he was old enough to know better, but too young to care.

Contact to nominate a candidate for the “Meet Your Neighbor” series. 


A Delicate Situation

A Delicate Situation

The world has been stuck for over a year, and our little neighborhood has borne the weight of it as much as any other. Many of our friends are out of work. Some have fallen ill and died. Many businesses have struggled and some have failed, including some of our local business supporters. The most severe effects of the pandemic will last way too long. Farther down the list of losses and things missed, we have been denied socializing at our Neighborhood Night Out and monthly luncheons, and neighborly waves and hugs have been suppressed or reduced to shouting a greeting across the street.

Still, we aren’t completely isolated. With masks and social distancing, we can still make it work. With the weather warming, we might meet in driveways and parks, for example. The CDC now says that those who are vaccinated can start taking the first steps: mingle with others who are vaccinated, without masks, and friends and family members can even hug one another. So… what now, neighbors? 

Opening Day!

Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post, July 5 2020.

The Rockies are back! The season opener was last night (CR 8, LA 5) and fans were in the stands. Some fans, that is. Limited numbers, masks, social distancing. “Opening Day” wasn’t like anything we’ve ever seen. The well-known baseball fan Dr. Anthony Fauci said, in an interview on CBS This Morning, that he hopes to attend a ballgame this year. Imagine! Could anything be a stronger signal that life could return to normal? The good doctor also predicted that his favorite team, the Washington Nationals, who finished last in their division last year, will win the World Series this year. This tells us not to rely too optimistically on predictions that “everything’s coming up roses!”

Signs of Life

Still, having hope is good. Without it, we would never move forward. As the community struggles toward regaining what has been lost over this strange and challenging past year, we can consider starting back up with one of the goals of the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association, encouraging neighborly interaction. The Association is slowly and cautiously planning for events to begin again, to help people get to know and appreciate each other. We will start with resuming the monthly luncheons, but in an outdoor setting. We’ll start this next month, provided the COVID guidelines at the time will allow. Then, later in the summer, instead of the big-crowd Neighborhood Night Out event in August, we will sponsor smaller “block party” type events for neighbors to gather outdoors. Same for our “Evening Get-Togethers.” These have always been outdoors in the warm months, but we haven’t had one for so long; we miss them, and resuming them will be with all the proper precautions that may be appropriate at the time.

Slowly and Cautiously

At these planned events the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association will encourage masks and distancing between parties from different households, and following the COVID rules that will be in effect at the time, with thoughtful care. That includes the CDC guidance that when all parties in a group are vaccinated it’s OK to be in contact; that is the main thing that will allow these small steps toward regaining the neighborly community feeling that we all love so much about Southern Gables.

Can We Do It?

Photo from broadcast interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci on CBS This Morning, April 1, 2021.

In his interview yesterday, Dr. Fauci set some expectations for the phase we’re approaching, with more and more of the population getting vaccinated:

“Please be careful. Don’t declare victory prematurely…. Every day that goes by, we get more and more protected. So what I say, and what [CDC Director] Dr. Walensky is saying is, just hold on for a bit longer, because every day is more and more in our favor and don’t pull back prematurely. We are gonna be able to pull back… but don’t pull back prematurely”

We’re going to be careful, hold on longer, follow the rules, and not start our gatherings rashly or prematurely. But we will begin to join in again as neighbors and friends.

Details on resuming these social events will be included in a newsletter that will be passed out to all Southern Gables and Valley View residents next week. Watch for it!