Obituary of Marvin Wolf
Marvin Eli Wolf, oil and gas pioneer, attorney, arts patron and philanthropist, died peacefully on March 15th in Denver, Colorado. Marvin was born in Kimball, Nebraska in 1931 to Leon and Dora Wolf, and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming where his father was the tailor on the Francis E. Warren Air Force Base. Marvin’s first jobs were on base delivering laundry and hauling ice blocks. He earned his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in 1952 and his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1954. He was admitted to the Colorado Bar and briefly practiced law, but was intrigued by the oil and gas industry. He and his brother Erving soon founded the Wolf Land Co., which later became the Inexco Oil Co. Under their leadership, Inexco discovered Wyoming's 4 trillion-cubic-foot Madden Gas Field, one of the largest natural gas reserves in the United States, and the Key Lake Uranium Mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, which once produced 15 percent of the world’s uranium. Inexco was acquired by Louisiana Gas, and while his brother Erving continued on with the larger company, Marvin chose to remain independent and opened Wolf Energy in Denver. Many of the city’s leading oilmen passed through the halls of his company, and it was often referred to as “Wolf University” for its ability to contribute quality professionals to the oil and gas industry. Marvin held leadership positions with the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association and was inducted into the Colorado Oil and Gas Hall of Fame. Though he was a practicing attorney for only a short time, Marvin maintained a deep affinity for the study and development of lawyers and law as a licensed attorney. He proudly carried his “bar card” for Colorado Attorney Registration #37 in his wallet every day. His connection to the University of Colorado School of Law deepened over time and he counted among his close personal friends the school’s successive deans and many faculty members over the years. In 1981, his challenge grant provided the funds for the Law School’s Natural Resources Law Center that became the Getches-Wilkinson Center. He also funded the Wolf Scholarship that funded the tuition for countless law students who were members of the University of Colorado Law Review, the Judi Wolf Scholarship for law students committed to advocating women’s issues, and, in memory of Judi’s father, the Jules Milstein Scholarship given to faculty for excellence in published legal research. He also endowed chairs at the Dean’s discretion under the names of both Dean Nichol and Dean Getches and, with his brothers, led the campaign to build a new building for the law school. That new building, named for his parents, Leon and Dora Wolf, provided the law school with a bright future for the study of law in Colorado. Marvin had a sustained dedication to education and these combined scholarships and donations provided hundreds of people the opportunity to pursue excellence in legal scholarship. Marvin received CU Law School’s Norlin Award in 1993, an honorary Order of the Coif award in 1997 and the law school’s most distinguished honor, the Knous Award, in 2003. Marvin was extraordinarily proud that his daughter Wendy ’84, stepson Marco ’97 and his grandchildren William ’17 and Meredith ’18 graduated from his beloved University of Colorado School of Law. Throughout his life, Marvin, with his wife Judi, had a passion for the performing arts. While he always loved football, and never missed a chance to enjoy and critique the Denver Broncos, it was the performing arts that brought him the most joy. He regularly attended the theater, symphony, opera and ballet for as long as he could, and provided significant support to all of the performing arts in Colorado. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) became central to Marvin’s life and his efforts to contribute to the community. When the Buell Theater at the DCPA was under construction, he collaborated with Donald Seawell to create the Marvin and Judi Wolf Reception Room at the Buell Theater. Both Marvin and Judi hosted countless performance intermissions in The Wolf Room with cookies and milk while they transmitted their passion for the arts to everyone around them. The Wolf Room collaboration also provided Marvin with one of his most significant personal friendships. Marvin and Donald Seawell were inseparable, dining together every Sunday, travelling together frequently, continuing to improve the arts with programs like The Best of Broadway and laying the foundations for the future of the city’s performing arts with the DCPA redevelopment that is presently underway. They found in each other the same qualities of discipline, service and leadership and their efforts ensured a lasting legacy of support and excellence for Denver’s performing arts. This legacy will be evident later in 2020, when the DCPA reopens The Stage Theatre as the Marvin and Judi Wolf Theatre. Marvin also supported other notable institutions throughout Colorado including Opera Colorado, the Denver Symphony Orchestra, the Denver Art Museum, Temple Emanuel of Denver and the Anti-Defamation League. Marvin is survived by Judi, his wife of 37 years and his daughter Wendy Kaufman, her husband Bob Kaufman and their children John, William and Meredith; his stepsons, Lance Chayet, his wife Barbara Chayet and their children, Grant and Logan; Victor Chayet, his wife Susan Chayet and their son, Devon; and Marco Chayet, his wife Paige Chayet and their son, Caleb. Interment will be private and a memorial service will be held at a later date in Denver. Donations in his memory may be sent to the University of Colorado Foundation for the benefit of the Leon and Dora Wolf Scholarship, 1800 Grant Street, Denver, CO 80203.