Glen Kalen died at his home in Jamestown, CO surrounded by those who loved him, on December 12th, 2023. The cause was Glioblastoma Multiforme, an incurable brain cancer.

Born to Nina and Lenny Kalen on February 21st, 1959 in Rochester, NY, Glen made his way to Colorado in the 1980’s, where he pursued his love of rock climbing.

When he wasn’t climbing, he was developing his skills as a woodworker and furniture maker, eventually becoming a master craftsman, and devoting his life to the building of beauty.

More than climbing or woodworking, what Glen loved most in the world were his family and friends. His connection to those around him was steeped in curiosity and love. His kindness and warmth were palpable to all who knew him. His humor and vivaciousness were slow-burning and highly contagious.

He thrived in one on one conversations with close friends, as well as those he barely knew. He also came alive in crowds, listening to all kinds of music, and then going out for pancakes at 2am, after the music was over.

He loved motorcycles. He loved surfing. He loved moving fast. He also loved slow walks at midnight, gazing at the stars in that silent part of the night.

In 2003, Glen’s cabin and wood shop burned down in a forest fire. Within 9 months of the fire, and with the help of friends and his wife Joanna, Glen rebuilt his shop, as well as a straw bale home.

There are no straight lines in the house Glen built – only curves – and the timber frame was made from the trees that burned in the fire. It is an off-grid home, run by the sun. This means the house is quiet. No buzz, clicks or current running through. No beeps or hums. No swish of sound. Glen was nourished by this quiet, and by the solitude of the land where he and Joanna lived.

Glen took the world in, and felt all of it. So much so, that sometimes he had to turn it off and retreat to his shop — his refuge, his solace, his creative center.

Before he died, Glen asked that his shop be transformed into a dance space for Joanna so that the thread of imagination could continue on, beyond his own life, in a different form.

This was Glen, through and through: generous, open-hearted, and visioning.

For those of you who loved him and who are changed by his passing: know that his life was more abundant because of you.

Glen, your legacy is one of beauty. You made the world a sweeter place to be.

You are survived by all of us who knew, cared about, and loved you — deeply, madly, everything.

11 thoughts on “Glen Kalen”

  1. This is the most beautiful obituary I’ve ever read. I am so sorry that you have lost this incredible man. What a blessing it was to share a life together. I hope I can come dance with you someday in your dance studio! May Peace and Love be with you during this time and as you move/dance into your next chapter of life.

  2. Beautiful joanna. You were so loved by Glenn. Snd loved him back just as fiercely. May his memory be a blessing.

  3. Such a beautiful writing, of course, for a beautiful life. I hope I get to dance with you in the woodshop some day.

  4. Thank you, Jo. The obituary is beautiful. I didn’t know Glen well but I got to feel that palpable place where he lived and connected from. His smile and laugh were contagious, and it felt like he had a secret or was going all kinds of places Inside, as well as in our connection. I felt his heart was truly right there in our connection. That is a rare gift and I will miss him.

  5. Jo, you beautifully highlighted Glen’s lovely heart. I adore that photo of him! I truly miss his clever humor and warm heart. I love that you will fill his workshop with your beautiful dancing. Big hugs to you.

  6. I love you, Jo—this is a wonderful summation of Glen’s life:
    “devoting his life to the building of beauty”
    I loved him so much! There is no one like him, and I miss him everyday.
    Thank you for loving him so very deeply and giving him such joy.

  7. When we crossed paths, Glen’s smiles, though we didn’t get to to know him deeply, were quiet, warm, and generous. I remember them being full, punctuated by the sparkle in his eyes. Thank you, Jo, for sharing this with us. What a noble human he was. We’re so sorry for your loss. How lucky you were to have had one another.

  8. Beautifully written Jo. He was indeed a truly talented and wonderful human being. I’m enriched to have been his friend for 50 years.

  9. Rip peace old friend I went to school with Glenn in elementary school ,we hit right off when discovered our Birthday’s were the same, I can remember he always made me laugh , and I’m sure all who knew him were better off for knowing him

  10. The moment I first met Glen in elementary school I knew he was special in so many ways. Just the thought of you or your name spoken would bring such beautiful feeling of who you were. You were a man that was truly a man to be honored and respected. We are sad you have left our physical world. You are now with those you have lost. May you enjoy the peace you so deserve.

  11. While we didn’t know Glen well, he made two beautiful tables for us over the years. He was a pleasure to work with and we are so grateful to have met him at Open Studios and now have his artwork in our home. An added bonus hidden under the table is his signature: his name, the month and year he built the table and a small peace sign. Have always thought the peace sign was such a sweet and meaningful detail to add.

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