Hey, Spike! Evie and seniors readying annual rummage sale | SummitDaily.com

Hey, Spike! Evie and seniors readying annual rummage sale

Miles F. Porter IV
Hey Spike!
Senior activist Evie O’Connor Lau.
Special to the Daily |

With senior citizens, you get history — and things get done.

A prime Summit County example is the annual Seniors’ Rummage Sale, slated for next weekend, with things getting started on Thursday, July 30 at 5 p.m., at the Frisco Community and Senior Center.

The first Seniors’ Rummage Sale started back in the 1990s, and, for 12 years, there’s been a silent auction in conjunction with the outdoor and indoor event.

That’s where longtime local Evie O’Connor Lau blossoms.

“That, combined with proceeds from the rummage sale and other senior fundraisers, enabled us to give grants totaling $45,100 last year to Alpenglow Chamber Music Festivals, Bristlecone Foundation, Colorado Avalanche Information Center, FIRC, National Repertory Orchestra, Summit Community Care Clinic, Summit County Rescue Group and Timberline Adult Day Services.”Evie O’Connor Lau

“Twelve years ago, when I became a permanent Summit County resident, I organized the first silent auction and have chaired the auction each year since,” says Evie, who explains the final bids for the silent auction are taken up to 4 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 1.

This Evie is no “Johnny Come Lately,” having built a home here in 1968.

“I was one of four who developed the Mesa Cortina properties above Silverthorne almost 50 years ago and built a home there in 1968, where I now reside,” she notes. “At the time, I lived in Littleton, where I raised my sons.”

Evie resided in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., for most of the time between her Mesa Cortina days and her return in 2003.

“I was the first woman trustee of the Democratic National Committee, Minnesota chair of the Women’s Leadership Forum; Tipper Gore was our national chair,” she explains. “I was a charter member of Emily’s List and helped elect Barbara Mikulski, our first woman U.S. senator, along with holding fundraisers for President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and many U.S. senators.”

As expected, Evie is upfront about her life story, saying:

“Being almost 82 years of age, I have outlived two husbands — Jerry Ledingham and Patrick J. O’Connor. Jerry was the father of my two sons, William Ledingham III and Jerry Ledingham Jr. My sons have given me two beautiful daughters-in-law, Dianne Ledingham and Janine Ledingham, and five wonderful grandchildren, the oldest of whom, Lauren, just graduated with honors from Brown University in pre-med. Her sister, Christie, will be a junior at Brown next year. Jerry’s son, Greg, just finished his first year at Stanford University. The two youngest grandchildren, Sean and Will, are equally accomplished and giving.”

During the years in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., Evie was married to Patrick J. O’Connor, senior partner of the law firm of O’Connor and Hannan.

“After his death, I became a full-time resident here and met Al Lau while playing bridge,” she says. “We married in September 2006 and have been playing bridge, hiking and dancing ever since.”

Locally, in addition to her Seniors efforts, where she’s a board member and chairs its grant committee, Evie is a board member of Alpenglow Chamber Music Festivals and chaired it for six years.

According to Evie, the auction raises an average of $10,000 each year.

Here are the results, she offers:

“That, combined with proceeds from the rummage sale and other senior fundraisers, enabled us to give grants totaling $45,100 last year to Alpenglow Chamber Music Festivals, Bristlecone Foundation, Colorado Avalanche Information Center, FIRC, National Repertory Orchestra, Summit Community Care Clinic, Summit County Rescue Group and Timberline Adult Day Services.”

What’s available?

In addition to the thousands of rummage sale items, two years ago, a 1988 Jaguar XJ6 was donated for the silent auction, and the year before, the lineup included a 1988 Jeep Cherokee.

“This year we have a 1995 Toyota Camry,” Evie emphasizes, in addition to the 25 wine presentations, including Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet and lots of wonderful merchant certificates.

“This whole thing is really a phenomenon,” adds Bill’s Ranch Senior activist and historian Charlotte Clarke. “We practically set up a Walmart in three days and break it down in a single afternoon.”

Last year, 634 Seniors were involved in the rummage sale and silent auction, while the newsletter mailing list totals 2,600.

Lorie Williams is the manager of Summit County Community and Senior Center.

The Summit County Senior Services offers social, educational and recreational activities, community outreach and volunteer opportunities, Mountain Meals, care navigation information and referrals and medical transportation. For more info, call 970-668-2940.

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to milesfporteriv@aol.com


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