Meet Your Neighbor: Jo Ann Greeb

Meet Your Neighbor: Jo Ann Greeb Southern Gables Neighborhood Association

Continuing our series of interviews with our Southern Gables neighbors, to help us get to know and appreciate each other.  Interviewed by Bruce McDonald.

Jo Ann, I’d like to start by asking, are you originally from Colorado?  No, not originally. I grew up in Wisconsin. My parents had taken a vacation trip out west and I remember seeing slides from that trip. It made quite an impression. Everything was so beautiful! I remember thinking I’d like to go there someday. Then after graduation and starting work something reminded me of that old wish. I was working for the phone company and I showed those old slides to a girlfriend. She loved it too so the both of us decided to go for a job transfer, still staying with the company, and come out to Colorado.

Meet Your Neighbor: Jo Ann GreebSo it was the beauty of Colorado that attracted you? Yes, and I haven’t been disappointed. Loved it from the start. When we came out it was in the summer but there was still snow in the mountains. My friend and I took pictures of ourselves in swimsuits in the snow, to send back and make our friends jealous. We went to work in our familiar jobs right away without missing a beat. It was such an exciting time — we had an apartment within sight of the gold dome of the Capitol and life was beautiful.

What brought you to our neighborhood here in Southern Gables?  Well, during that time living downtown I met this guy — a cute bartender who worked at Eastway Inn not far from where we lived. I was there with a friend and she bet me a beer that I wouldn’t ask him to dance. Well, I’m a Wisconsin girl! That dance turned out to have a long-lasting effect. Fred and I married, and this neighborhood was very conveniently located, just one stoplight between here and his job at Martin. I worked with Mountain Bell, US West, and whatever other changes they went through over the years — they’re CenturyLink now of course —  and wherever I worked in their various locations, being in Lakewood was not too far for my work commute as well.

Are you an original Southern Gables homeowner? That is, was your house new when you moved here?  We first had a house on South Cape Way, just off Jewell, and it had been there a while when we bought it. Then before long we had the opportunity to buy a vacant lot and have this home designed and built for us. That was in 1975. The house next door was already there, and some others up and down the lane, but the last open lots weren’t filled in for a few more years.

Tell us about some of your favorite memories with neighbors. We always enjoyed lots of social activities with our neighbors. We would have barbecues, dinners, celebrate birthdays and so on. We’d get a group together to go and see the ice sculptures up in Breckenridge. And fish! A lot of us raised Koi. It was a popular thing for a long time. The guys would have to go up to Boulder for supplies, and everybody had these elaborate Koi ponds. It took a lot of work, maintaining those ponds. People took pride in keeping the fish healthy. We’d call each other if someone spotted the birds circling. You’d have to protect the pond with a net over it. What kind of birds?  Herons, big white herons. Wow, we don’t see anything like that around here these days. Well, you don’t have any fish!

OK then, how about any other hobbies or interests?  Travel. Fred retired a year before I did, and we were both so eager to get going and see the world that I took an early retirement so we could go places. The world has so many things to experience, and I feel lucky that we were able to go and see some of it. I loved Iceland with its gorgeous waterfalls. We went all over Europe — Germany, France, Ireland, England. We saw homes with bullet holes and damage from the war, where families had been through such terrible things. In France, the American Cemetery on the Normandy Coast. So touching. Norway, Denmark, Finland. We went to Vladivostok, the big port in Russia. In Japan we toured several cities, Osaka and inland from there. Cruises too. We took cruises to Alaska, the Mediterranean. There’s so much to see and experience. I hope we’ll all be able to travel freely again in the future.

Don’t we all!  That and our neighborhood activities, like the Neighborhood Night Out and the monthly luncheons we’ve enjoyed in the past. Thank you for speaking with us, and letting us get to know you a little better. 

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


Meet Your Neighbor: Vic Moss

Meet Your Neighbor: Vic Moss Southern Gables Neighborhood Association

Continuing our series of interviews with our Southern Gables neighbors, to help us get to know and appreciate each other. Vic Moss runs Moss Photography and his work keeps him on the leading edge of changing technologies.  Interviewed by Bruce McDonald.

How long have you lived in Southern Gables?  Twenty-five years. The main reason for choosing this area when we moved here in the mid-1990s was the schools. The excellent reputation of the district and Green Gables Elementary in particular was a big draw. The Southern Gables neighborhood was attractive and well-kept. Keith Grebe, the Realtor who found it for us, was sold on it himself and when we moved here he became a neighbor as well.

Southern Gables neighbor Vic MossWhat are a few things that you like the most about the Southern Gables community?  The schools, as I mentioned; our kids went through Green Gables, Carmody Middle, and Bear Creek High. Then there’s the community feel of the neighborhood. The friendly waves as our neighbors drive by. I also like the convenient location, how accessible the rest of Denver is from our neighborhood.

Do you have a favorite memory with your Southern Gables neighbors?  Walking to school with the kids, and being active at Green Gables Elementary. I got involved with the PTA — served as President for a time — and that deepened my sense of community connection.

What is the most neighborly experience you’ve had in our neighborhood?  This is the kind of place where neighbors pitch in to shovel each other’s sidewalks, and being on either end of that is a pretty good feeling. Two of our neighbors put our fence back up after it was blown down while we were on vacation a few years ago. You don’t get that just anywhere. The sense of community ties into a favorite saying of mine, “It’s virtually impossible for one person to change the world, but it’s remarkably simple to change the world of one person.” One person at a time.

What are your hobbies?  Drones and photography. More than hobbies, actually; those two “hobbies” are really my full-time work. I do architectural photography as a business. Like the ideal job should be, it’s something I love to do. I take a lot of pride in the results I achieve for clients. For aerial shots, before the advent of drones I spent a lot of time in the passenger seat of a Cessna 172 holding my camera out the window. Glad those days are over. Now I can fly a photography drone and get shots that would not have been possible from an aircraft.

So it seems this newer technology has led you into a new field; rather than being a passenger you have to be the pilot. Has that been difficult? It was hard at first, but as it became more natural it has really expanded my horizons. I see what you did there.  Yes, but seriously, it has revolutionized my life. Of necessity, I’ve gotten involved with the rapidly-evolving field of regulations governing drones. I recently worked with the FAA and the City of Lakewood to get three parks opened for recreational drone flying, where otherwise they would be under the same restrictions that were imposed years ago for radio-controlled airplanes. I am a part owner of a drone school where we teach people about the rules and flying safely, and I am a volunteer on the FAA Safety Team. Most recently, I was appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation to the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee. Since I’ve been involved with safety education for a good while, this is a good opportunity to put my experience to work. I have found that people want to be smart about it, and fly safe.

Even though the drone aspect has come to dominate aerial work, I do a lot of commercial and industrial work on the ground as well as in the air. I’m still a photographer first.

Is there anything else you want us to know about you?  We’ve loved living here, and are blessed to have been able to raise our family here. And if you see any drones flying over Green Gables, it’s probably mine. So don’t worry about it.


Meet Your Neighbor: Marlys Duran

Meet Your Neighbor: Marlys DuranSouthern Gables Neighborhood Association

Continuing our series of interviews with our Southern Gables neighbors, to help us get to know and appreciate each other. I first met Marlys when she was serving as treasurer of the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association, and I knew she had been in charge of the neighborhood newsletter.  Interviewed by Bruce McDonald.

Bruce: Thank you for agreeing to participate in our “Meet Your Neighbor” profiles. First off, we’d like to know about how you came to Southern Gables. Are you a Colorado girl?

Marlys: No, I was transplanted but it’s home to me now. I love it here. I was born in Iowa, graduated from high school in Illinois and from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where I majored in journalism and minored in psychology. I got married there, and my husband and I moved to Colorado for his work in 1966. Our first home here was on South Cody Way, and there was no development beyond us to the south. Then we moved to our present home on Warren Drive in 1969. That move was during an October snowstorm. I’ll always remember that!

Maat Your Neighbor: Marlys DuranWe raised three children here, and all are Bear Creek High School alums. I was reminded in reading a recent neighbor profile about the time when the local schools changed to a year-round schedule. That was another snowy memory, since I was one of the parents who waited in the cold and snow to get my kids enrolled in our schedule of choice. That morning was so cold! We got the choice we wanted, which was with the summer off. We stayed on that schedule until the experiment ended, and the school year returned to normal for everyone.

Back to your college days, is that where your journalism career started?  Yes, while in college I worked part time in the summers for the Albuquerque Tribune. Then after graduation I was a reporter for them. When we moved to Lakewood I was a reporter for the Lakewood Sentinel and later became the editor of the Englewood Sentinel. I also worked as a reporter covering Jefferson and Arapahoe counties for the Rocky Mountain News. I won some writing awards over my 40-year long career. Retired in 2001.

And we know the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association has benefited from your editing skills, with the Newsletter… Yes, I edited the SGHA newsletter for 20 years. I miss it, and although these articles are nice they don’t reach nearly as many people as the printed newsletter we used to put together twice a year. Delivering the newsletter door-to-door just became too problematical with the pandemic, I guess. I hope it will make a comeback someday.

Is your family all close by? I am a grandmother of four, and great-grandmother of three little girls in Minnesota. Since the pandemic has put the damper on travel I haven’t been able to see my kids and theirs as much as I like. I took a flight to see family in November, and one grandson has visited me from Northern Colorado. I get out for groceries and errands, masked of course. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for those who are isolated and can’t even leave home. How about exercise these days?  Well, I get out and walk a few times a week. The neighborhood is great for that. I used to love going to the “Curves” exercise salons but they’ve gone out of business one after another, taking me farther and farther afield until the last one I knew of closed. I think there might be another one I could try, and I’m going to check it out.

I keep telling myself that I should move to a smaller home with no grass to be mowed or sidewalks to be shoveled. Or leaves to rake! We have the Southern Gables Leaf Day. Have you participated in that?  Oh yes, I’ve really enjoyed that. This past November the volunteers came and raked up 8 bags of leaves for me, and took them away to go into the composting project. All year long, though, I have friendly neighbors who help even when I don’t ask. Southern Gables is a nice, relatively safe and stable neighborhood that I’m proud to call home.