Wolverton Family Permanent Book Fund

When Julee Wolverton recalls trips to the Montrose Regional Library with her daughters, her eyes sparkle and her amazing smile spreads over her face.  “We came to the Library every Tuesday, and each girl would fill her book bag with ten books.  It was such a great asset….I can’t imagine buying all of the books that they read,” she says.  All of that reading must have paid off, as Abby Wolverton graduated in May from the University of Colorado with a degree in physiology and psychology and now works in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder research at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.  Emily Wolverton was chosen for the prestigious Boettcher Scholarship and is in her first year of pre-med studies at Denver University.

The Wolverton Family Permanent Book Fund was created in July 2011 to buy books for the Montrose Regional Library.  In addition to Julee, Abby and Emily, the family includes Craig, who is a financial planner with Four Seasons Investment Advisors.  I took it as high praise that Craig thinks that both Permanent Book Funds and the Library District are “a great return on investment.”  “The Book Fund is a fantastic idea.  It made so much sense to us to create one.  We knew that our investment would continue to grow and buy books, and the amount is meaningful but doable for most people.”

Craig grew up in Hotchkiss, where his father owned the funeral home and his mother taught fourth grade.  He recalls trips to the Hotchkiss library, which shared a building with a roller skating rink.  He admits that he was more interested in finding a girl to skate with him than finding a book to read.  He worked in the funeral home through high school and then attended Colorado State University.  He cleverly got a job as a “hasher” (or food server) in a women’s sorority, where he met and fell in love with Julee who was studying landscape architecture.  Julee was raised in Denver, where her father, Dick Graham, was a dentist and her mother, Toppy Graham, read voraciously and filled the home with books.  Dick and Toppy now live in Montrose, where they use the Library regularly.

Julee and Craig wed and spent a year in married campus housing, where Julee says they were the only Americans.  After graduation, the couple headed to San Diego, where  Julee got a job as a landscape architect and Craig enrolled in a mortuary science program.  Julee describes her work in San Diego as some of the most exciting of her career, including work at the Olympic Training Center, San Diego State University, and Seaport Village.

But Colorado called them back, and they landed in Cedaredge, where Craig rejoined the family funeral business and Julee commuted to Grand Junction where she had a ten-year contract to design the Colorado River Trail, for which she had done a senior project at CSU.  When Craig’s family sold the funeral home, Craig and Julee (and Abby and Emily, who were born at Delta Memorial Hospital) moved to Denver.  Craig worked for a large group of funeral homes and Julee continued working on the Colorado River Trail.  But three years in Denver was enough, and they chose Montrose as their place to settle down.  They knew they wanted to raise their daughters (and a horse) in the country, and they found paradise on Spring Creek Mesa.

Through his work in funeral homes and as President of the Colorado Funeral Directors Association, Craig had learned a lot about trust management, and it was a natural fit for him to move into financial investment advising.  He went to work for a longtime friend, Bill Tennison, of Paonia, and I learned that I’d unknowingly listened to Bill and Craig on “Financially Speaking,” a Saturday morning show on KVNF Radio.  In 2005, Craig started Four Seasons Investment Advisors, and he maintains offices in Montrose and Paonia.  He also has been a very active member of the Montrose Rotary Club, which is where I met him.  He served as President in 2007-2008, and as an Assistant District Governor for four years after that.

Julee launched her landscape architecture firm in 2000, and she feels fortunate to have developed relationships with civil engineers and architects who bring her in as part of their design teams.  She has enjoyed landscaping many local projects, including Centennial Plaza and the Daily Press building.  Recently, she designed the landscaping for the proposed community recreation center.

The Wolverton family loves traveling and the outdoors, and has listened to all of the Harry Potter books during family trips.  They have a goal of hiking every trail in Kelvin Kent’s Ouray Hiking Guide.  They also enjoy biking, and upon their graduation from high school, Craig rode a tandem bike with each daughter in Ride the Rockies.

The Wolvertons chose to create their Fund in five annual installments, and Julee says that she has been excited to see its value and income grow.  The Fund bought one book in 2011, two books in 2012, and this year, it provided four books.  “We love the Unveiling party,” she said.  “I can’t wait until next year, when the stack of books from our Fund will be even bigger.”