Obituary: Jim Louis Kurowski
February 17, 1940 — January 28, 2019
James (“Jim”) Louis Kurowski passed away peacefully at his home in Steamboat Springs, on Monday, Jan. 28. He was surrounded by his wife of 31 years, Dianne Stoyko, and his four adult children, Lisa, Thad, Cody and Hanna.
Born in East St. Louis, Ill., on Feb. 17, 1940, Jim was the son of Ted and Helen Kurowski, and the brother of Gloria (Schmid). Although his family moved to Nebraska when Jim was 7 years old, East St. Louis made a lasting impact on Jim, inspiring his lifelong devotion to community.
Highly intelligent and driven, Jim enjoyed understanding how things worked and why. After graduating from Creighton University Medical School, he enlisted in the Public Health Service. Jim served as the public health officer in the deeply segregated Mississippi Delta town of Greenville. Years later, he would credit his time in the Jim Crow South for solidifying his commitment to social justice and his belief that all people have a right to high-quality, affordable healthcare. One of Jim’s proudest accomplishments was integrating the health center he led in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, and hiring the first African American nurses to serve the predominantly black community.
Jim completed an M.P.H. at Johns Hopkins University.
Widely respected as an ethical public health servant, Jim held key positions including director of Eastside Health Center in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver. In 1981, he was appointed by Mayor Bill McNichols as head of Denver Health and Hospitals. He taught Health Policy at the University of Colorado.
Jim married Dianne Stoyko of Winnipeg, Canada, in 1987. They shared two children, Cody and Hanna. After retirement from public health positions in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1999, the family moved to Steamboat Springs. For 14 years, Jim relished working at the Bud Werner Memorial Library, where he loved helping others find information they were looking for (often so that he would learn something with them along the way), and engaging in hearty debate about education, public health and American politics. He loved Dianne’s superb cooking, reading, watching football (especially his grandsons), amateur acting and being a father and grandfather.
Jim will be lovingly remembered as a deeply principled husband, father, grandfather and friend, who dedicated his life to his children and community.
Jim was 78 years old and is survived by his wife, Dianne, his children – Lisa (Rob Chirico), Thad (Katy Neusteter), Cody and Hanna – his four grandchildren (Jakob, Tye and Brayden Chirico and Brule Kurowski), and his sister, Gloria (Lanney Schmid). Jim was previously married to Bettina Tabak, mother Lisa and Thad.
A memorial service will be held in June. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that memorial donations be made to the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs or the Carcinoid Foundation.
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