Meet Your Neighbors: The De Lay Family

When I went to meet Tim and Kristen we sat and talked in one of the many Southern Gables parks. A beautiful park – happy bees checking out the plentiful flowers, birds visiting occasionally to twitter from the trees, and a gentle breeze flowing through the leaves on the mild summer afternoon. Did you know there are beautiful parks in Southern Gables? This one is in the De Lays’ yard. Not surprising, since we know Kristen is an expert gardener, and has in fact shared her expertise with us in weekly articles on several occasions. Interview by Bruce McDonald

Bruce: You told me once before that you have lived here in Southern Gables since 2016. Tell us, what brought you to the neighborhood and where did you come here from?

Tim: I was living in Denver, and Kristen was in Aurora. When we got together we both understood the parameters; I wanted to be on the west side of the metro area and Kristen would get to choose based on the schools. So, you’re both Colorado natives?  No, I’m from Wisconsin, and… Kristen: I’m from Texas.

Kristen and Tim De LayKristen: We had looked at so many houses, but just hadn’t found “the one”. It was getting close to the start of school, and we needed to find a house quickly. Luckily, our house on Warren became available, after a previous offer didn’t go through. We were able to see it that night and we put an offer in immediately. When we found this neighborhood it was a hidden gem – so beautiful! And Green Gables Elementary, such a great little school, perfect for our kids. They were in third and fourth grades.

What are a few things that you like the most about the Southern Gables community?  Tim: I like the wide streets, the big trees, and the neighbors are so friendly. We felt so at home and welcomed from the start. It’s such a great place to raise kids. They could always walk or bike to school, and Green Gables is such a great school. Kristen: When they got to middle school they would bike to Carmody. Now they’re in Bear Creek High School. It’s great that Porter can drive now, though the bus ride was pretty convenient. He and Georgia are thriving at Bear Creek, especially with the high quality of the music programs. Are they both involved in music?  Oh yes, and that makes us “band parents.” That’s a commitment for sure. They are both in the marching band in season, and “winter percussion” the rest of the year. Porter has been taking piano lessons since he was nine,1 and they have both played all kinds of instruments as well as singing in choirs. Georgia’s love is the oboe, and she performs in the Denver Young Artists Orchestra.

Do you have a favorite memory with your Southern Gables neighbors?  Kristen: We love the Neighborhood Night Out, and the way the neighborhood comes together for that. Tim:  And  I remember the time they did a recognition event for the original homeowners, when the neighborhood celebrated the 50-year anniversary. That was terrific. It was so great seeing the pictures from when it was all new, reading the stories, seeing the old sales brochures for the homes. Our house is one of those originals built in 1967, the “Charleston” model.

Bee Safe

What is the most neighborly experience you’ve had or seen in our neighborhood?  Kristen: Well, I have a lot of “neighborly” experiences with the things that Sustainable Southern Gables does, and the “Bee Safe” program. That’s something that I love contributing to, and it’s good for all of us. I’m getting together tomorrow with a neighbor who wants to make her yard more bee-friendly. To join in the program it involves some education and taking a pledge, and there are neighbors with more experience who encourage and help with good practices for the environment.

How about hobbies, leisure time? Your work?  Kristen: Well, look around. I am really interested in gardening, especially with native plants. My goal is to create an ecosystem in my yard. We both work out twice a week. and walk a lot. The neighborhood is great for walking; everyone is so friendly. For work, I am a consultant for a digital analytics agency, so they can empower their data for marketing. Tim: During COVID, my work was forced indoors and we were all working from our basements, unable to get out and have normal connections. I needed to do something different, work with my hands. I bought a Toyota RAV4 – the first generation model – and rebuilt it. I’m not a mechanic, but I figure things out. Now I like to buy them, get parts from junkyards and fix them up, and sell them. Well, maybe not sell every one; right now I have five. I love those RAV4s – but just the first-gen ones. Kind of a narrow niche, isn’t it?  You’d think so, but it’s not. I run a Facebook special interest page for RAV4 GEN 1 enthusiasts. It has 20,000 members! And work, I love my work. I do special live events. The parade for the Nuggets? That was mine, part of my work as Senior Director of Operations for Altitude Sports. The big games: Avalanche, Nuggets, Rams? I’m there. My team does the behind-the-scenes work, making things come together right for what you see on the screen. I love it. Kristen: And guitars… Tim: Oh yes, I collect guitars. I used to write music and I played in bands all through high school and college, bass and guitar. I’m an old rocker as you can see.

Um, yes, sure. I can see that. In closing, do you have any advice for us, or things you want to pass down to future generations?  Kristen: Connecting with people is so important. It’s what makes any place great. Tim: A great way to do that here is to go to Neighborhood Night Out.

I agree! And that’s August 25, right? Here in Southern Gables, at the Green Gables Elementary School campus? I’ll mark my calendar!

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  1. Since moving to Southern Gables, Porter’s piano teacher was our neighbor Leta Bontrager.

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