The Colorado Daily also is organizing a musical memorial at one of Wendy Kale’s favorite venues, the Fox Theatre on University Hill. That event, scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 24, is still in the planning stages, but will include musical performances and other tributes.
Wendy Kale was named after the motherly character from Peter Pan, said her good friend Jane Stansfield.
“Those musicians were her Lost Boys,” Stansfield said of her friend, who was a staple of Boulder’s music scene for four decades and had written about acts big and small for the Colorado Daily since the 1980s.
Stansfield told this story to a few other friends of Kale’s after the memorial service for her at Unity of Boulder on Thursday. That morning, about 50 people gathered at Unity to remember Kale as an unwavering supporter of music in Boulder, a workhorse of a colleague, a kind soul and loving friend.
Kale was found dead in her apartment on Aug. 2. She was 58. The Boulder County Coroner’s Office has conducted an autopsy but has not yet announced the cause and manner of Kale’s death.
At the memorial, pastor Jack Groverland started the service by recalling a familiar sight in Boulder — Kale pedaling her bike in all kinds of weather. He later said he’d often offered her a ride home from Unity, where Kale was a member for 20 years, when it was snowing or raining.
“She’d say, ‘No, no — I don’t want them to win,'” he said. ” I said, ‘Who, Wendy?'”
“‘The elements,’ she said.”
More than a dozen people came forward to a microphone during the service to tell stories about Kale that made the audience both laugh and cry.
“I’m not sure anyone worked as hard for a T-shirt and a cold slice of pizza as Wendy Rock ‘n’ Roll,” said J.C. Ancell, who was a staff adviser for the University of Colorado’s Program Council for many years.
Ancell met Kale while working on an Allman Brothers concert (that didn’t happen) in 1973 and recruited her for Program Council, he said before the service started.
“She was a natural,” he said. “She was so devoted to rock ‘n’ roll.”
Kale spread the word about music in Boulder for four decades and was as important as anyone to the music community here, said Chuck Morris, president of AEG Live Rocky Mountains.
“Her attitude was always that she was trying to build a music community,” he said.
Leland Rucker, who hired Kale to write about music for the Colorado Daily in the late 1980s, said when she first started, she was always excited about some band, and in his last days in the job in the ’90s, she was still just as excited as she was that first time.
Her editor at the Daily in 2011, Dave Burdick, said that years later, “not one ounce of that energy had faded.”
“I don’t think the Fox Theatre would have survived without Wendy Kale,” said Don Strasburg, co-founder of Boulder’s Fox. “Wendy probably spent more time in the Fox than I did.”
Strasburg said that even when she wrote a tough review, she never destroyed anyone.
“Wendy did a lot of good, and quietly, and didn’t get a lot of recognition,” he said.
Karen Richards said Kale was her best friend in the ’70s and ’80s, and they went to many concerts together. One Halloween, Richards, Kale and two other girlfriends dressed up as Kiss.
“I think she was even with me the night I met my husband at the Blue Note, 30 years ago,” Richards said, with a sniff.
After many stories and much praise for Kale, Groverland told those gathered he would pause for a second musical interlude. Danny Shafer took the stage, strummed his guitar and said that when he moved to Boulder and started booking music at Penny Lane Coffee House, Kale wrote about his acts and “treated it like the biggest thing going on in town.”
“She helped me feel really at home in the music community here,” he said.
Then Shafer settled into a soulful rendition of The Beatles’ “Let it Be” that one can only imagine Wendy “Rock ‘n’ Roll” Kale would have loved.