WALSENBURG — Last year Alan Hein, then administrator for the City of Walsenburg, died of cancer. Last Thursday, Acting Administrator Beth Neece lost her heroic battle with cancer as well.
Neece was married to Dr. David Neece, longtime Walsenburg physician. She is also survived by children, parents and other relatives. Beth grew up in the Denver area and graduated from UNC in Greeley.
Neece’s career with the City of Walsenburg began in 2008 when she was hired as the administrative assistant to then City Administrator Eric Pearson. She worked for two administrators and two interim administrators in her four years with the city. Pearson, Alan Hein, Lou Quigley and Don Saling, all had high praise for her knowledge, dedication and ability.
It was Quigley, a long time city administrator in Pueblo, who suggested elevating Neece to Assistant Administrator, a position new to the city. He said he did it for two reasons: first because she showed real talent and the capacity to handle the job and second because the city would save money by having her on salary instead of paying her hourly wages.
She was pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Administration to increase her knowledge and become a full-fledged city administrator. When Don Saling left abruptly last year as interim administrator, the city council decided to elevate Beth Neece to acting administrator.
Neece was the glue that held the city in place between the naming of the various past administrators by past city councils. She helped the incoming administrators adjust to their new surroundings with knowledge gained on the job. She worked with three different mayors and city councils, all the while showing the professionalism necessary to work with everyone for the benefit of the city and its residents.
Neece began battling cancer during the summer of 2011 but was able to maintain her duties until May of this year when the disease began to take its toll. Because she was unable to work regularly, the city council advised her to take care of herself first and return when she was able to resume a regular schedule. The city provided health benefits and pay along the way. They named Dave Johnston the interim administrator in her absence in August.
Although she wanted to return to her duties, the cancer had taken too much out of her and she was never able to resume her work for the City of Walsenburg. She died Thursday evening, Oct. 4 and a private ceremony was held by family members last Saturday in the Denver area. No memorial services are scheduled locally. Beth Neece had her 50th birthday just last month.