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Bert's Bench - a memorial to Bert Steele

The Niwot community was shocked and saddened by the death of Niwot Market owner Bert Steele following a short illness last summer. A wrestling scholarship at Niwot High School was established in his memory at the request of his family, but many in the community looked for an opportunity to create a permanent visual memorial to beloved businessman and philanthropist, who for over 20 years, quietly got to know his customers and supported every event and project in Niwot, with little to no fanfare.

In time, an ad hoc committee led by Vicky Dorvee of Niwot met with Steele's family, and settled on a memorial bench to be located outside of Niwot Market. Fittingly, the bench will feature a tailgate from a red Chevrolet pickup, capturing one of the things Steele was known for - driving a classic red Chevy pickup in Niwot parades, and the Friday Night Car Shows he sponsored in the parking lot of the Niwot Market every summer.

"The mission of the project is to show community support and caring in light of the loss of Bert Steele, who was so involved with and dedicated to Niwot," Dorvee said. "Bert's kindness and generosity were felt by so many in the community and this project is our way of honoring him and his family."

The bench will be "surrounded by flagstones engraved with Bert's sage words at the entrance of the market set between two pine trees," according to Dorvee.

The project is being organized by representatives of several Niwot community organizations, including the Niwot Community Association, the Niwot Business Association, the Rotary Club of Niwot and the Niwot Cultural Arts Association. Members of the committee included Dorvee, Kamla Chopra, Karen Edwards, Deborah Fowler, Selene Luna and Biff Warren. Alison Steele and Seth Steele, children of Bert Steele who work at the Niwot Market, have been involved in the project since its inception, and Samagra Melville, owner of the real estate where the Niwot Market is located, has also lent her support to the project.

"The bench is being created by an artist in Nashville with roots in Colorado," Dorvee said. "The flagstones are being engraved by Niwotian Bert Cashman, and the installation will be done by Scott Rogers Custom Stone, a local company." The family of Bert Steele has come up with a long list of memorable sayings of their father, including, "Never make someone's day worse than it needs to be," and "I lived a good life, I am ready for my next adventure."

The budget for the project, including the bench and the landscaping, is $5,000.00. The funds for the project are being raised by a combination of donations from individuals and families in the community as well as Niwot community organizations.

Tax deductible donations may be either completed online at, or by check made out and mailed to NCAA, P.O. Box 733, Niwot, CO 80544. Please reference Bert's Bench while making donations to identify the project. A QR code to the NCAA website will be included on flyers which will be distributed around Niwot and at the Niwot Market registers.

Any funds collected in excess of the cost of the project will be donated to Bert's Memorial Wrestling Scholarship at Niwot High School.

The Niwot Community Association has approved a $1,000 matching fund donation, and the Niwot Business Association has also committed to donate $1,000.

Dorvee said, "There will be a community-wide dedication ceremony on Saturday, December 16, at 3 p.m. with a few short speeches, some sweet treats and warm drinks, and 'Late for Supper' playing some tunes" at the Niwot Market.

The Niwot Historical Society will be creating Christmas cards featuring the Niwot Market in honor of Steele for the holiday season. The cards will also give a brief history of the building occupied by the Niwot Market, which was formerly the home of the Cottonwood Health & Racquet Club before it became a grocery store. Sales of the cards will offset the cost of printing, with any additional funds supporting the Niwot Historical Society.


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