GRANBY — Paul Geisendorfer, a Granby resident and water purveyor for much of his life, died on April 24, 2013.
Born in Mt. Leonard, Missouri, on Oct. 19, 1927, his family moved to Granby when he was 5 years old. The Geisendorfer family moved to Denver during his junior high school years, but he spent every summer in the high country until he graduated from Lakewood High School.
He then moved back to Granby to farm lettuce until he joined the Army in 1951.
While serving during the Korean War, Geisendorfer was captured by the Chinese on Jan. 3, 1952, near Oridong, North Korea, and labeled a “reactionary.” Starved and tortured, he and a buddy escaped but were recaptured within a couple of weeks and kept in a dark, underground dungeon without food. When he developed beri beri, he was placed in a hospital for a few weeks until he recovered enough to be placed back in “the hole” where he spent three months with a dozen other men accused of “illegal activities.” He escaped again, but was caught within a few days. He was finally freed at the end of the war in Sept., 1953, and it took almost a year for him to recover physically from the ordeal.
He then attended CSU in Fort Collins and majored in water law. After graduation, he moved back to Granby and developed Moraine Park with its own water rights. While the subdivision is surrounded by the town of Granby on all sides, it was never officially part of the town. Eventually, the water system’s distribution and service lines deteriorated, and in 2012, the town of Granby secured a loan to fix the stand-alone system.
According to his widow, Norma “Jean” Geisendorfer, he was well known in water circles, and was “a friend to most and the Devil’s advocate to a few.” She added that he was always going to water meetings, and was the first one to come up with the idea of towing Alaskan icebergs south so the melted water could be used in arid Western states. He was ahead of his time in realizing there would soon be far more people than water supplies in the Southwest, and that conservation of water resources was just as important as finding new sources.
While he was a resident of Granby, Geisendorfer was active in the Boy Scouts and Youth For Christ. He also was a member of the Adventist Church, American Legion and the Democratic Party of Granby.
Water was his first love, but he also dearly loved his family. He married Norma Jean Long in 2001, and spent his last nine years living in Colorado Springs enjoying his children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He is survived by his wife; sister, Mary Cornwell; his two sons, Lorin and Cody Geisedorfer; and two daughters, Paula Geisendorfer and Margery Wells.