Colorado Ballet

Colorado Ballet Co-Founder Lillian Covillo Dies at 89

Colorado Ballet Co-Founder Lillian Covillo Dies at 89

Katrina Tamminga - Dec. 3, 2010

It is with a heavy heart that we share with you, the death of Miss Lillian Covillo. Together, with lifelong friend and business partner Freidann Parker, Miss Covillo co-founded one of Denver’s oldest and most established arts organizations, Colorado Ballet. She died peacefully at the age 89.

A Denver native, Miss Covillo devoted her life to that art she loved and poured her soul into enriching the Denver’s arts scene. If not for the dedication, courage and vision of Miss Covillo, Colorado Ballet would not be in existence today, and Denver’s rich cultural tapestry would be far less opulent.

As state by Senator Bennet in honor of Colorado Ballet’s 50th anniversary, “In the imagination of lifelong friends Freidann Parker and Lillian Covillo, a place of learning, artistry and expertise was born: Colorado Ballet.”

Even in her later years, Miss Covillo rarely missed a production and was even at Colorado Ballet’s most recent production of Dracula in October. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to honor Miss Covillo on Oct. 21, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. She was in great spirits at the event and had the opportunity to see numerous people who have been a part of Colorado Ballet over the last 50 years.  Colorado Ballet would not be here today if not for Miss Covillo’s vision and dedication. She will be greatly missed by her Colorado Ballet family and we send our deepest condolences to her family.

“It was a great honor to know Lillian for 4 and a half years,” said Colorado Ballet artistic director Gil Boggs. “It is very seldom that one has the opportunity to meet such a remarkable person. She gave a tremendous amount to Colorado Ballet and the citizens of Denver. Lillian will be greatly missed.”

Preceded in death by co-founder and partner, Freidann Parker, her parents, John and Philomena Covillo, her sister, Betty (Jim) Strong. Miss Covillo is survived by her nephews: Jim (Debbi), John (Becky) and Joe Strong: her nieces Janet (George) Wasson and Jeanine (Dan) Erickson. She is also survived by numerous great nieces and nephews and her Colorado Ballet family.

A Memorial Mass will be held 10:00 a.m. Friday, Dec. 10, 2010 at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church (2225 South Colorado Boulevard in Denver). Reception to follow service. Family suggests contributions to the Colorado Ballet Founders' Fund c/o Colorado Ballet, 1278 Lincoln St., Denver, CO 80203. Contibutions can also be made the Founder's Fund through Colorado Ballet's website.

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