Martin Dell Stefanic, affectionately known by many as “Chief Huggy”, passed away July 13, 2020 at the age of 71.
Marty was born at Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado, October 19, 1948, to Anthony Martin Stefanic and Marjorie June (Vaughn) Stefanic. He was the youngest of three children, including sister Cynthia Stefanic Thompson and Michael Anthony Stefanic. When his father, who had served in WWII, re-enlisted to fight in the Korean War, Marjorie and her parents moved the family to Sacramento, California. They lived in Sacramento about four years, and when their father returned from Korea, the family moved to Phoenix, Arizona where they lived several years. When Marty was nine years old, the family returned to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Marty finished his grade school, junior high, and high school education.
During his high school years, Marty participated in Football and Track, but he excelled at Wrestling, becoming a State Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, and was subsequently awarded a full scholarship to wrestle at the University of Northern Colorado. There he met and married the love of his life, Alice Janet MacGibbon in 1969.
Marty graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Industrial Arts/Social Studies in 1970. Though he had originally planned to teach high school, he decided to pursue a career in Law Enforcement. He began his law enforcement career in Greeley, Colorado, serving first on the Greeley Police Reserves. He was hired as a full-time police officer on March 3, 1971. He quickly rose through the ranks, serving as an officer, a specialist, sergeant, commander, lieutenant, captain, and division chief. While on the Greeley Police Department he worked as a school resource officer, an undercover drug enforcement officer and worked in department planning and research.
In 1979, Marty and his family moved to Kalispell, Montana, where, at the age of 31 he began serving as Police Chief of the Kalispell Police Department. After eight years in Montana, he was selected as Chief of the Canon City Police Department in 1987. Always a gentle giant, he led the department and community with his characteristic honor, integrity, Christian faith, and conservative values until his retirement in 2003. During his career Marty authored several articles on policing which were published in professional journals.
A life-long learner, educator, provider, protector, and patriot, Marty loved his country and loved being in the outdoors with his family and dogs: camping, hiking, canoeing, shooting, hunting, bicycling, running, and in later years, golfing. He also excelled at woodworking and photography. Marty enjoyed performing in community theatre and once wrestled costumed as “Bat Man” for a police fundraiser.
A devoted member of the First United Methodist Church, Marty also was a member of the Montana and Colorado Police Chief’s Associations as well as the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He was active in Rotary, United Way, IOOF Footprinters, and was on the Board of Directors for West Central Mental Health. He especially enjoyed being a part of the Fremont/Valdai Russia Sister Cities Association, and he organized and participated in an exchange of Canon City and Russian Police Officers for an incredible learning experience.
Left to cherish his memory are his beloved wife, Alice; children, Jenelle Stefanic, and Bert (Michele) Stefanic; grandchildren, Dylan Stefanic, Paris Hood, and Randi Owens; sister, Cynthia Thompson (Elaine Walsh); sisters-in law, Helen Schneider, Laurie MacGibbon, Trudy (Alex) Smith, and Holly (Lonnie) Burton; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Michael Stefanic; and niece, Emily Stefanic.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Canon City, Colorado on August 24, 2020, at a time to be announced, with Pastor Dennis Sillaman officiating. The service, entrusted to Holt Family Funeral Home, will also be live-streamed due to event attendance limits, followed by inurnment at Mountain Vale Cemetery. Online condolences, www.holtfamilyfuneralhomes.com.
“All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Marty’s name to: Loaves and Fishes Ministries of Fremont County, 241 Justice Center Rd., Canon City, CO 81212 or Humane Society Adoption Center, 110 S. Rhoades Ave., Canon City, CO 81212.
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