Brian Pendleton


Died January 16, 2020

College: Davenport

Widow: Dr. Susan Stein
5590 South Curtice Street
Littleton, Colorado 80120

Brian Pendleton of Littleton, Colorado died on Thursday, January 16, 2020, from Alzheimer’s complications. He died as he lived, with dignity.

Brian was born on November 7, 1939 in Montclair, New Jersey to Frank (Pete) Palmer Pendleton and Margaret (Peg) Elliot Doan Pendleton. Brian’s siblings, Barbara (Babs) Donnell and Stevens (Steve) protected and loved their younger brother.

Brian attended Phillips Academy Andover, Class of ’57, and Yale University, Class of ’61, before enlisting in the US Navy as an Officer. He received his law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law, Class of ’68, and moved to Denver, CO in 1969. He was the senior partner in the Denver law firm of Pendleton and Sabian. Brian also shared the name of his firm with Guthery, Lewis, Landeck, Craft, Friedberg, Wilson, Hennessey, Meyer and Crow. He retired in 2000.

Brian spent the last 20 years travelling extensively, especially to places where he could practice foreign languages. He loved golf, skiing, snowshoeing, gardening, and camping trips with family and friends. Brian enjoyed giving back – teaching kids to read, cleaning highways, and marching to support social change. Brian welcomed everyone into his life. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, kindness, adventurous spirit and love of beer.
Brian is survived by his wife, Susan Stein; his daughters, Lynn Pendleton and Jean Gresh; and his stepchildren, Andrea Evashevski and Ben Wismer. His eight grandchildren were so very special.

Brian’s Celebration of Life will be held at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, CO on Saturday, February 15th at 11:00 am followed by a light lunch and fun party. He requested a dress code of casual and colorful. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to in his name.
Published in Denver Post from Jan. 24 to Jan. 26, 2020



November 7, 1939 – January 16, 2020

Surrounded by his loving family, Brian Pendleton, one of Denver’s bright legal minds for more than forty years, lost his valiant battle with Alzheimer’s on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at age 80 at his home in Littleton, CO. He lived the life he dreamed and he departed this life the way he intended by the natural process VSED (Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking), now legal throughout the nation. Using the compassionate progression of VSED, Brian chose to complete his life on his own terms with dignity, grace, and incomprehensible courage.

Descended from and named after the celebrated colonial Puritan leader, Brian (n) Pendleton, who had no middle name, was preceded in death by his parents Margaret Elliot Doan Pendleton, Frank (Pete) Palmer Pendleton, his sister Barbara (Babs) Doan Pendleton Donnell (James Knox), and his cousin, Yale classmate Miles Stevens Pendleton, Jr. (Kim) (Constance Morrow) of Washington, D.C. He is survived by his devoted wife of 33 years, Susan Lee Stein; his elder brother Stevens Palmer Pendleton (Charlotte Wiesner) of Ramsey, NJ; his daughters Lynn Coppess Pendleton (William Alden Schuler) of Louisville, CO and Jean Pendleton Gresh (Andrew) of Durango, CO; his stepson Ben Stein Wismer (Tiffany Cribari) of Littleton, CO and his stepdaughter) Andrea Wismer Evashevski (Kyle) of Denver; his Aunt Nemo Warren Doan of Tucson, AZ; and his cousins Lea Bond Pendleton (Susan Nottingham, deceased) of Marblehead, MA, Lissa Pendleton of Westford, MA, Christopher Doan of the Bay Area, and Sally Doan Bode of Tucson, as well as and many revered nieces and nephews.

Brian is also survived by his former wife of 20 years Susan Coppess Pendleton Montjar (Dwight) of Goodyear, AZ, the mother of his daughters, Lynn and Jean; and Andrea and Ben’s father, Jack Norval Wismer of Denver, CO. Brian found great delight in his eight loving grandchildren: Abigail Gresh (18), Mia Gresh (16), Paige Evashevski (16) Noah Schuler (16), Antoinette (Nettie) Wismer (15), Luke Evashevski (14), Alden (Ollie) Schuler (14), and John Wismer (12). A passionate lover of the Colorado Rockies, he was an avid skier, hiker, golfer, cyclist, and all-around outdoor enthusiast, respecting and nurturing nature and all it has to offer.


Born on November 7, 1939 in Glen Ridge, NJ, Brian grew up in Montclair and graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, Class of ‘57 and Yale College (psychology major), Class of ‘61. He attended the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School (OCS), Newport, RI and was commissioned as Gunnery Officer on the destroyer USS Herbert J. Thomas (DD-833) from 1961-65. He regularly deployed with the 7th Fleet WESPAC to the South China Sea and the Far East, which commenced his love for the Japanese people, their engaging customs, language, and cultural arts, prior to the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. After marrying Sue Coppess in June of 1964, his last assignment was with the USS Thomas during its FRAM conversion at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA from 1964-65.

Upon discharge from the Navy as Lieutenant Brian Pendleton, he entered UC Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco (1965-68) (JD), interning during the summers at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. At Hastings Law, he was a member of the Thurston Society, Order of the Coif, and was an Associate Editor of the Hastings Law Journal, 1968. His visionary article published during the fall of his third year, The California Therapeutic Abortion Act: An Analysis, 1967, was a constructive precursor to the forthcoming landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade in 1973. His esteemed law professors of the Hastings Sixty-Five Club had a direct influence on Brian’s legal accomplishments, including his professor of Tort Law who shaped American law of tort privacy, Professor William Lloyd Prosser, and his Contract Law professor, the former California Supreme Court Justice, Professor Roger J. Traynor, plus the distinguished professor of Jurisprudence and International Law, Professor Julius Stone, one of the country’s premier legal theorists. With the guidance and tutelage of these gifted legal minds, Brian was inspired and prepared to proceed with his legal career after his graduation in 1968.


Upon graduation from Hastings Law, Brian moved the family of three to Denver, where he found its first home in Bow Mar, a tightly-knit community 12 miles southwest of Denver. He passed the two-day Colorado Bar Exam in the summer of 1968 and then launched his long legal career as an associate at Dawson, Nagel, Sherman & Howard where he became an active member of the Colorado Bar Association. Two years later, he and his colleague Michael A. Sabian (Harvard Law, 1968) established Pendleton & Sabian, P.C. in 1970, which grew and prospered for more than forty-five years, championing a springboard for many lawyers and staff members to advance their personal journeys toward successful and challenging careers. (Pendleton, Sabian & Guthery; Pendleton, Sabian, Guthery & Lewis; Pendleton, Sabian & Landeck; Pendleton, Sabian & Craft; Pendleton, Friedberg, Wilson, Hennessey & Meyer; Pendleton, Friedberg, Wilson & Hennessey; Pendleton, Wilson, Hennessey & Crow)

As an eager young lawyer, Brian served as a member of the Colorado Bar Association (CBA) Board of Governors for eight years (President, 1971-73), as Chairman of the Young Lawyer’s Section of the Denver Bar Association, 1970-71, as a member of the Board of Editors of The Colorado Lawyer, as a member of Continuing Legal Education (CLE), the American Bar Association, Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado, as Adjunct Professor of Securities Law, University of Denver College of Law, and later as a Fellow Emeritus with the Colorado Bar Foundation.

Throughout his legal profession Brian concentrated his practice in the area of commercial real estate law. He managed complex commercial negations, real estate transactions, including commercial land and building developments, farm and ranch properties, leasing matters, zoning, and other land use matters. He negotiated significant land contracts with foreign clientele investors, and with his developing international interests and aplomb, he focused his legal efforts in the Pacific Rim and Latin American countries. His sensitive multicultural awareness and remarkable ability to communicate with foreign entrepreneurs and dignitaries were instrumental in establishing Denver’s long-standing business relationships over time with Japan, Mexico, and other countries. Further, he was an ardent supporter of his wife Susan Lee Stein, PhD (University of Denver), who is an accomplished Applied Sociologist and Founder of OMNI Institute of Denver, a nonprofit organization that accelerates positive social change through integrated research since 1976.


Transforming his social concerns into visionary undertakings while giving back to others without fanfare was Brian’s lifelong desire. With his exceptional public speaking talents and sharpened communication skills, he volunteered on a plethora of boards and committees in the legal profession as well as in the communities where he lived. He served as President of the Yale Club of Colorado and was a member of the Founding Board of Directors of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) in the mid ‘70s that continues to provide wilderness opportunities, skiing, and snowboarding activities for mobility-impaired individuals in the Rocky Mountains region. Brian was a trailblazer for the environment and assisted Mayor Mary Carter of Bow Mar (Mayor, 1994-98) in establishing the Mary Carter Greenway Trail that provides eight miles of barrier-free natural surfaces for urban hikers from the South Platte River to Chatfield State Park at C-470, which is part of South Suburban Parks and Recreation.

Brian was a fundamental figure on the Board of Directors of the Downtown YMCA for more than two decades and was elected to its Emeritus Board as special recognition for his achievements. With his passion for all things Japanese, he was a driving force behind the birth and growth of the Japan America Society of Colorado and was elected president of the board in 1995. That same year he was elected to the Board of Directors and to the office of Vice President, Alliance Françoise de Denver (1995-2000), an international nonprofit that promotes the francophone culture and that offers reoccurring French-speaking classes at many Metro Denver locations. With his broad-reaching global interests in International Law, commerce, and trade, he was vital in the growth of the World Trade Center© Denver, the vibrant hub of international business, technology, and innovation for networking experts in global commerce. Because of his leadership, diplomacy, and guidance, Brian was tapped to be the DTC Denver president from 1995 to 1997.


After cultivating his position as Founder and Senior Partner of his firm for nearly three decades wearing his ubiquitous bow ties, he retired at the age of 60 at the close of 1999 so that he and Susan could extensively travel the world and be able to escort all eight grandchildren to the global destination of their choice. Their first outdoor adventure together was canoeing the length of the Mississippi River, beginning in its headwaters in Minnesota. He loved to travel with his adoring Susan―they lived the life they had imagined together. Always a gallant gentleman and natty dresser, he was a dancer extraordinaire, a fan of classic rock, a devotee of red wine and beer. A consummate linguist, he became fluent in French while at Yale, and through the years he mastered the complicated Japanese language as well as Spanish to become fully immersed in other cultures when traveling for business and pleasure.


His unwavering service to others included support of The Rotary Club of Denver (1992-2001) and a Fellow of its Foundation, The United Way/Denver Kids, Inc., Dream Foundation™, Denver Audubon Society, Guide Star-Rebuilding Metro Denver, Interfaith Community Services of Littleton, Families First at Shiloh House of Littleton, and Adopt-A-Highway, among others. He and Susan were regulars when it came to shaping social change and justice for all with their outward and visible presence at rallies and community assemblages. Together they volunteered as tutors in the Jefferson County Public Schools to advance education―one student at a time. Brian was a stalwart steward of the Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church, Littleton, for more than a decade where he was treasured for his ability to lead others honorably. Brian enjoyed singing with Susan and performing with the South Suburban 5280+ Encore Chorale for many years―as close to perfect pitch as possible. Known for his ready smile and unwavering honesty, moral principles, and steadfast courage, particularly when facing Alzheimer’s heroically head-on, he was exceptionally devoted to the worthy causes they supported. As a father, husband, grandfather, uncle, veteran, lawyer, public servant, lover of the outdoors, and time-honored friend, he will be profoundly missed by the multitude of lives that he touched.


A Commemorative Celebration of Brian’s infinitely special life will be held at the Jefferson Unitarian Church, 14350 W 32nd Ave., Golden, CO on Saturday, February 15 at 11:00 a.m. with celebrant Reverend Jeannie Shero, M. Div. of Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church, Littleton. The family requests that expressions of sympathy endure as memorial gifts to the charities of one’s choosing. In his continuing challenge to give back to society, Brian requested that his physical remains be donated as an anatomical gift to the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

With sincerest respect,

Susan Coppess Pendleton Montjar

Goodyear, AZ