Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

Familiar Faces - Bill and Jill Whitener

 
Series: Familiar Faces | Story 7

December 4, 2019 | View PDF

Courtesy photo

Niwot residents since 1987 and frequent volunteers around town, Jill and Bill Whitener are this month's Familiar Faces.

Their first names rhyme, so it is easy to see them as a matched set and their last name is emblematic of the brightening effect they have on the community. It's Jill and Bill Whitener - the vivacious, capable, and caring duo who have become very familiar faces in Niwot. We posed a few questions to find out what makes this generous couple tick and here is what we've learned.

Left Hand Valley Courier (LHVC): Tell us a bit about your backgrounds.

Jill & Bill (J&B): Jill grew up in Aspen. Her parents moved there in 1953. Her father was with the 10th Mountain Division and helped start the ski industry in Aspen.Her background is in special education. She taught special needs kids at all grade levels for 30 years. She taught one year in Mountain View, Wyoming, 4 years in Arizona, and 25 years in Boulder, most of which were at Heatherwood Elementary. She earned her master's degree in special education and has been retired for 15 years, but is busier than ever. She also worked at Nic Nats, managed Curves, distributed the Left Hand Valley Courier, was a nanny for 7 years and is now a caregiver.

Bill grew up in Hemet, California, a small agricultural town in southern California where his parents owned a chicken ranch.His background is in engineering as a mechanical designer and manufacturing engineer. He worked for NeoMed, Ball Aerospace, Storagetek, and EM Solutions. He started his handyman business in 2006 called Some Assembly Required. He's very busy and helps with many Niwot projects.

LHVC: How did you meet?

J&B: Bill and Jill met in 1981 in Boulder. Jill was married and Bill was living in California. Bill and his family had come to Bill's brother's graduation from CU. Jill and her husband were close friends with Bill's brother and joined in on the celebration. Bill returned to California with the intention of Jill and her husband visiting him that summer. Unfortunately, the weekend after Bill returned to California, Jill and her husband were in a head-on collision as the result of a drunk driver and her husband was killed. Bill finally found a reason to move to Colorado. Jill and Bill's lives came together and they were married in 1983. Their son Mason was born in 1986. In 1987, they moved to Niwot and have been in the same home for the last 32 years.

Mason attended Niwot schools and was involved in sports. He has worked in broadcasting, promotions and the music industry. He was married in Sept. 2018 and now works for Zillow.

LHVC: Where can we spot you in the community?

J&B: You will see Jill and Bill anywhere and everywhere. Maybe First Friday Art Walks, Wine about Winter, Rock and Rails, hanging banners in town, selling tickets for pancake breakfasts, music events, coffee shops, and on and on. They support and are advocates for the Niwot community. They believe you don't just build a community through giving money, but through time and commitment. Their favorite part about Niwot is that they both came from small towns and really appreciate and enjoy the connections in this small community.

LHVC: What are your hobbies and pastimes?

J&B: They enjoy snow skiing. Bill has been a volunteer for Copper Mountain safety patrol for 10 years. They have a passion for traveling and have done some amazing trips internationally. Jill makes jewelry and participates in art and gift shows around Colorado. They are both very active and involved in many different activities.

LHVC: What has been the most challenging and what has been the most gratifying experience of your life?

J&B: Over the years Jill and Bill have had many challenges - health, caregiving, and losses - but have made those challenges learning experiences and opportunities to grow. They have taken in many exchange students over the years from Germany, France, the Children of Chernobyl from Belarus, and some of Jill's students.

LHVC: What would we be surprised to learn about each of you?

J&B: Bill was a league champion pole vaulter in high school. He also raced dirt bikes and was in the Baja 500 and 1000. Jill rode and jumped horses and was in many horse shows. She was also a ski racer in Aspen and skied in a Walt Disney movie.

In closing, they want the community to know that their life in Niwot is filled with meaning and purpose because of their challenges in life. It has allowed them to be helpful to others and to be of service to their community.

 

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