Aside from having the respect of the entire Denver community, when you hear the names of Charlie and Judy McNeil, it usually will be in combination with them chairing a major nonprofit event. The McNeils are not there in name only; they are key contributors to the event and are often the ones generously buying high-ticket items at live auctions to lend even more support. It’s no wonder they were selected as the “Pillars of the Community” recipients for Arapahoe House in 2005 – and will be the honorees of the 25th Anniversary Children’s Diabetes Foundation “Carousel Ball” on October 1st this year.
Generous, grounded, and humble, they could choose to do other things with their money. As an example, the McNeil’s have canceled all vacation plans this year, just to be around and available for their community-oriented commitments.
Not looking for the fanfare – the McNeils’ priority is to do a decent job with what they see as their responsibility to the community. With strong Colorado roots, Judy and Charlie have joined forces time and time again with a common purpose to make a true difference. Always classy and elegantly dressed, ready to represent their charities well, the McNeils are a stabilizing factor on the Denver social scene today.
Not only are they Blacktie’s choice this year for our favorite Valentine’s Day couple, Charlie and Judy have won the hearts of all and have earned the right to be called one of Denver’s most gracious and giving couples. Bravo to the McNeils!
You are absolutely known as one of the most respected and charitable couples in town; what non-profits and events are you involved with at this time?
Judy – 2011 President of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation at Denver
– Denver Center for the Performing Arts Alliance Member
Charlie – Trustee and Vice President of the Boy Scouts of America
– Colorado School of Mines Board of Governors
– Arapahoe House Foundation Board Member
Judy & Charlie – Honorees of the 25th Anniversary CDF Carousel Ball held on October 1, 2011.
Where did the two of you get married, and what was the day like? We were married here in Cherry Hills Village at the LDS church on December 18, 1971. Getting married a week before Christmas was a very busy time of year. Judy smiles when she thinks back on this day. She was 30 minutes late for her own wedding and for years has laughed that she will probably be late for her own funeral too! So she put a stop to that one! Now she sets her clock in the bathroom 30 minutes ahead, the kitchen clock 10 minutes and the car then has correct time. Well, it works and Charlie is a happier man for it!
When you first met, what was the first thing you noticed about each other? Several people said that we looked like we could be brother and sister. Often Charlie reminisces that he was attracted to the long blonde hair and Judy was attracted to this “frat guy” and HIS blonde hair. By the third date, Judy knew this was the man she was going to marry and soon after Charlie gave her his fraternity pin. It was a fun-filled romance and this December 18 we celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary. I feel honored that Charlie chose me to be his wife.
What charitable events do you look forward to attending each year? Together we are dedicated supporters and have never missed a Saturday Night Alive gala at The Denver Center for the Performing Arts. We fondly support the Arapahoe House and last year chaired the luncheon with Dr. Drew Pinsky. And for 14 years Judy and Charlie have poured their energy and zest into the Children’s Diabetes Foundation’s Brass Ring Luncheons.
As a couple, what's your first priority? Our first priority is to maintain our love for each other. Because of that commitment to each other, we then have the energy to give back to our family, friends and community.
What main quality do you admire in each other? We have the full trust, support and confidence in each other which are characteristics that makes us really close. We share integrity, sincerity, kindness, honesty, and a love and respect for one another.
What do you have most in common? We both are crazy off the chart “perfectionists” in EVERYTHING we do. Judy jokes that this will one day put us in our grave early!! We both have always had a desire to “make a difference”. We respect one another’s views and share a common faith together. So this all makes for a powerful combination.
They say sometimes opposites attract; what is the most different thing about the two of you? As with all couples, trying to agree as to what music we listen to together. Or, in our case, debating on “what is the ‘REAL’ time?” with all those crazy clocks set forward!! Now most time that is a comical dilemma around here!
Where do both of you like to go for a romantic dinner - in Colorado? Since J. Alexander’s opened, we like to go there for our December anniversary salmon and mashed potato dinner treat! YUM
What is your favorite vacation spot – and why? We enjoy spending time at our mountain home that overlooks the beautiful Lake Dillon reservoir. Also, our family has 22 wonderful years of great memories on our house boat at Lake Powell. We have traveled the world. One of our treasured memories is of visiting China and making a cell phone call from a top of the Great Wall. Charlie always laughs that we can’t even get cell coverage at the intersection of Belleview and University, yet we made a phone call from the Great Wall!
What do you plan on doing for Valentine's Day this year? We are going out to dinner with a group of friends.
What is a treasured family possession that you hope will be passed on through the generations? We have put a lot of time and energy in our family genealogy in the past 10 years. What a treasured thing this is to be able to pass this on to our children and grandchildren! It’s priceless!
In your opinion, what does it take to get to that special place known as "wedded bliss? Be patient, forgiving and supportive of each other. David Calvert performed our marriage ceremony and I always remember his counsel to never retire for the evening without saying “I’m sorry” and to always give more to the marriage than you receive.
Tell us about a great McNeil family tradition? Our family tradition is to always have one family vacation each year together. Wow, this year we will number16! Holidays are the highlight spent with our family of 3 children and 8 grandchildren.
What are you most looking forward to in the future? We are looking forward to slowing down in life and spending more time smelling the roses!
How do both of you want to be remembered by future generations? That we made a difference by serving those less fortunate than us.