RIP: Jerry Peters, far right, was the first Executive Director of the Greater Glendale Chamber of Commerce. He is pictured with former Executive Director and current President Mark Smiley, far left, and the current Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Allen.

Jerry Peters, longtime City Manager for the City of Glendale and the first Executive Director of the Greater Glendale Chamber of Commerce, passed away on March 7, 2023. Following a 17-year career as City Manager for the City of Glendale, Jerry Peters announced his retirement back in 2019.

Peters was appointed by the Glendale City Council in 2004 after serving as Deputy City Manager under then City Manager Cliff Dodge for two years. Peters holds the record as longest tenured City Manager in Glendale history (15 years), surpassing Gary Sears (1986-1997) by three years.

Peters assisted in overseeing big changes in the landscape of the city. The completion of Infinity Park, along with the addition of a professional rugby team; the construction and opening of the Glendale Sports Center; Glendale CitySet; the expansion of Glendale’s Super Target, as well as the massive remodel in 2019; redevelopment of King Soopers; and the extraordinary beautification of Cherry Creek Drive South, are a just few of the major projects that occurred during his tenure.

Tributes have poured in honoring Mr. Peters, most remembering him as a kind man. “I met Jerry 16 years ago when he was part of the committee who hired me to work for Glendale,” said Laura Lieff, former Executive Editor of Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle. “He was kind, considerate, and always had a smile on his face. Jerry was a community leader who was always interested in what was going on with others. He will be missed.”

“Jerry never missed an opportunity to ask how someone was doing and if there was anything he could do to help someone,” said Jeff Allen, Chamber COO. “During his time as City Manager, he would take a cautious path in his decision making. Always combining the needs of the City with the people involved. Few people in public life have been able to leave a trail of genuinely quality relationships over such a long period of time. As Jerry stepped away from his duties with the Chamber of Commerce and the City, both organizations reflected his character and influence. As for our Chamber, the foundation Jerry forged has provided an organization with a personality which has endured long past his direct involvement. Jerry will certainly be missed, however his presence remains throughout the City he so well served.”

Perhaps the relationship between current Mayor Mike Dunafon and Peters is most notable. It dates back to Dunafon’s high school days at Golden High School where Peters was his football coach. “I knew Jerry essentially my entire life,” said Dunafon. “The life lessons I learned from him while I played football for him in high school are still applicable today.” Little did Dunafon know as a high school teenager in the early ’70s, they would be working together as Mayor and City Manager decades later.

Peters’ history with Glendale predates his days as Deputy City Manager and City Manager. He helped launch the Greater Glendale Chamber of Commerce in 1999, operating out of the attic of the old Loews Hotel. He fondly remembered meeting with prospective members in the lobby of the hotel or in Tuscany, the restaurant off the lobby.

Dating back further, Peters helped put together the Denver Broncos broadcasts on KOA Radio from 1978 to 2003. Peters grew up in Ogallala, Nebraska, and graduated from University of Northern Colorado in 1967. He then became a teacher and football coach at Golden High School until 1972, when he became the Director of Public Relations for Colorado School of Mines.

Peters served as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era. He was stationed at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, from the early to mid-’60s.