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Remembering Ola Stanger

A Celebration of Life Open House was held at the Historic Park Theatre for Ola Hollars Stanger on Sunday, June 26, 2005 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. All of those who were touched by Ola's kind and generous nature were invited to attend.

Thank you to all that attended. It was a beautiful day, full of love to fill the "Tower of Love" at the Historic Park Theatre

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In October of 2003, Ola was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Because of her indomitable will to live, she beat the odds and endured for another 19 months, including surviving her husband, Mickey Stanger, who died on December 30, 2003. With her daughter, Sharon Seeley, by her side, Ola continued to be active in overseeing the operations at the Park Theatre, the Park Theatre Mall, and Estes Valley Resorts (Lake Shore Lodge, Lake Estes Inn & Suites, Aspen Lodge).

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Because her heart was in Estes Park, Ola insisted on remaining in her home in Estes Park during her illness. With family and friends by her side, Ola Stanger passed away on Wednesday, June 1, 2005. Ola is survived by her daughter, Sharon Seeley, of Estes Park, her son Andrew Stanger of Boulder, four grandchildren, and four great grand children. Her nephew (Jeff Galyon) also lives in Estes Park.

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Born in Stanton Kentucky on February 23, 1922, Ola was one of five children of Andrew and Zona Hollars. In 1943, she married Richard (Mickey) Stanger of Frederick, Colorado. Ola was a woman who brought spark to every day life. She dedicated her life to the people around her, as well as to her work. She was the kind of person who could sit in front of a packed theatre and keep the restless crowd entertained while the projectionist fixed the projector. As the owner and operator of movie theatres for over 59 years, many people walked through her life. Some were embracing life, while others needed a shoulder to lean on. Ola's heart was much like a theatre, large and open. So often, it was filled with happiness. People meant the world to her, and there was nothing she wanted more than to spend a little time talking to you. In fact, one time she got so busy talking to someone, the young man forgot that he was robbing her. She walked him down to the pool hall and they parted ways on good terms. That was the way Ola was.

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Ola reached out to others and lent a helping hand whenever she could. She was always willing to listen to your problems, while never once complaining of her own. Her kitchen was always open to those in hunger, and she always had a spare coat for those who were without in the middle of winter. Such was her compassion for the needs of others. It was this compassion, along with her devotion to her father, the Rev. Andrew Hollars, and his life's work that in 1939, she helped him locate, finance and then construct Highlands Presbyterian Camp (just south of Allenspark).

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Ola came to Estes Park in 1954 with the simple goal of helping her mother, Zona, who operated a small hotel (Prospect Inn) in town. However, she found something even greater worth staying for. In 1968, Ola and Mickey began leasing the Park Theatre from Vic Walker. They improved the theatre by expanding the concession, adding carpeting, wall tapestries, a gold stage curtain, and installing a 12x24-foot screen. When it came time for Mr. Walker to retire, he sold the Park Theatre to the Stangers, knowing it would be in good hands.

Ola's life was filled with plenty of hard work, and she never complained about her numerous duties. While Mickey had grand visions, Ola's ingenuity and perseverance made those dreams come alive. Although Ola is no longer with us physically, she is not far from our hearts, for she has touched each and every one of us with her compassion, her zest for life, and that unmistakable laughter.

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The community was invited to join family and friends on Sunday, June 26, 2005 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the historic Park Theatre to honor and remember Ola Stanger, while reminiscing her life of joy, and perseverance. For more information, contact Sharon Seeley at 970-586-8904.