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Eugene Kiefel, founder of Wheat Ridge Cyclery, dies at 92

Published March 1, 2024

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (BRAIN) — Noted long-time retailer Eugene Kiefel died at home on Feb. 4 at age 92.

The Kiefel family owned and operated Wheat Ridge Cyclery for 48 years, selling the business in 2021

Eugene Kiefel was born in Landau, Ukraine, on June 12, 1931. He and his mother and sister left Ukraine, traveling by truck and train in 1943. The family lived in Poland and Czechoslovakia for a few months before settling down in Tabing, Germany. 

While living and working in Tabing, Eugene discovered the joys of dancing and spent many weekends traveling by bicycle to the local club and sneaking home late in the evening, according to a family obituary. Eugene also learned bicycle mechanics in Tabing as a short apprentice.  

"He loved the freedom of traveling by motorcycle to pick up inventory from distributors and learning the business side of retail. His apprenticeship lasted a few years but he quickly realized he would not be able to open a business in his town as the current bicycle shop owners would not allow the additional competition," the family said.

The family immigrated to Colorado in 1951.

Eugene met Leonore Deibert at a German wedding, having been introduced by Leonore’s cousin Art, and they married in 1959. They had three children: Ron, Erlinda and Leona. Eugene worked at an automotive bearing company for a number of years, but Nora was determined to start their own business and in 1973 they acquired the store in Wheat Ridge.

Ron went on to a successful professional cycling career, which helped the store attain a national reputation. 

In 1991 Eugene brought his son-in-law Gil into the company and quickly turned the reins over to Gil as Leonore was beginning to have health problems. Nora passed away from cancer in 1998.

Eugene quickly became active, serving on a few boards and rediscovering his love of dancing. This is where Eugene met his new love, Estelle Neas, whom he married in 2005. Sadly, Estelle passed away from cancer in 2008. 

According to the family, Eugene continued "dancing, traveling, and attending the many different sports, plays, musicals and activities of his grandchildren." His grandchildren are Levi and Letti Stafford; Connor, Grant, and Claire McCormick; Alexander Kiefel, stepchildren Meredith and William Avery, and his step-great-granddaughter, Lilli Thaler.

"He will be fondly remembered for his unwavering commitment to others, leaving behind a legacy of compassion, hard work, and boundless zest for life," the family said. 

As an expression of sympathy, the family asked that memorial contributions be sent to either: Catholic Charities or the Colorado Mountain Bike Association-COMBA.  

Funeral services were held Thursday, Feb. 29. 

Eugene Kiefel

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