Leonard Michael Perlmutter, father of Rep. Ed Perlmutter and head of the Office of Economic Development under Roy Romer, died July 8. He was 92.
“I lost my best friend and Colorado lost a truly great citizen,” Ed Perlmutter, a six-term Democratic representative in Congress from the state’s suburban 7th district, said in a statement. “Laz was an inventor and an innovator. He had a great sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye for just about everyone. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and cousin. His passing will leave a void in the lives of many, however his guidance, love and good works will never be lost.”
A native Coloradan, Leonard Perlmutter attended the University of Colorado and was known for his widespread civic engagement. He was one of the original members of the Colorado Forum and spent four decades serving with the organization.
Gail Klapper, president of the Colorado Forum, remembered Perlmutter for his ability to navigate difficult situations and strike a compromise between disagreeing parties.
“He was very small in stature but in many ways he was a giant,” Klapper said. “He would never be the first person to speak. He would always be the one to listen to everyone and he would have the magic tonic everyone was looking for. So I remembered him as a magician, the man who found the solutions when things looked intractable.”
Perlmutter knew how to respectfully oppose others, Klapper said, and was always constructive in offering criticisms. When his close friend and neighbor of 16 years, Joe Coors, decided to run against his son, Leonard Perlmutter sustained a friendly rivalry with his neighbor.
Alongside relatives and a friend, he founded Prestressed Concrete of Colorado. The company eventually merged with Stanley Tool Company and came to be known as Stanley Structures. Perlmutter served as CEO of Stanley Structures.
Steve Cooper, a long-time employee at Prestressed Concrete of Colorado, described Perlmutter as “a working man’s friend.”
“It didn’t matter who you were,” Cooper said. “You could’ve been employed there for one week and you could talk to the CEO no matter how busy he was, no matter how small of a problem he had. He had a knack in having your back and you could count on him no matter who you were.”
His business acumen contributed to his success in leading the Office of Economic Development, Klapper said.
“He played a really important role in that position for the state and because everyone loved (him), attracting business to Colorado was something he did very naturally,” she said.
Perlmutter is survived by his wife Alice and his three children Ed, Joe and Cassie.
Content originally published by the Denver Post on July 9, 2018.