Leaving a Legacy: Jack and Shirley Haselbush


Jack and Shirley Haselbush

Growing up on a dairy farm near Longmont, Colo., Jack Haselbush has always been proud of his agricultural roots. Those roots led him to Colorado State University, where he majored in dairy sciences and was a member of the FarmHouse Fraternity. He planned to return to the family business after graduating in 1970, but his father gave him some advice that changed the path of his career.

"My dad thought it would be a good idea if I got a job for a couple of years before committing my life to running the dairy farm," says Jack. Jack's father, who served on the board of a local bank in Longmont, talked to the bank president, who connected him with a colleague at First National Bank in Denver. Jack enrolled in the training program with First National Bank, and thus began his career in banking.

"Even though my background was in agriculture, it worked out really well," says Jack. "They had a lot of agribusiness clients that the smaller, rural banks couldn't handle. So, I was able to combine my agricultural background with the banking business, and that became my area of expertise."

Jack worked at First National Bank in Denver for 10 years; managed a bank in Gillette, Wyo., for five years; and eventually took control of the Estes Park Bank. It merged with Vail Banks in 2000, and Jack went into semiretirement.

At that time, Shirley was working as a pharmaceutical representative for Wildlife Pharmaceuticals in Fort Collins, which supplied drugs and delivery equipment for wild and exotic animals in zoos around the country. "My very first job was in an appliance store in my hometown in Iowa, and I knew right away that I wanted to work in sales," Shirley says. "I met a lot of really neat people, and the customer always came first with me."

Although she was not considering retirement at the time of the Estes Park Bank merger, the sale of their stock enabled her to consider early retirement too. "I probably got out of banking 10 years before I had planned to, but I'm glad we got out when we did because the economy was still good," Jack says. "And being a banker in a small town, I learned that you have to put back some of what you take out."

Jack and Shirley decided to use their stock from the sale of the Estes Park Bank to establish the Haselbush Family Scholarship, benefiting students in the College of Agricultural Sciences. They also have designated CSU as a beneficiary in their wills, and they have established a scholarship in the FarmHouse Fraternity Foundation to be awarded yearly to a CSU FarmHouse Fraternity member.

"The satisfaction in giving comes from being able to help someone, or some cause, or some program that would not be able to survive if it weren't for financial help," says Jack. "Those who come from agricultural backgrounds have families with a lot of assets but not a lot of capital. These scholarships will help someone go to college that otherwise would not be able to."

For Jack and Shirley, retirement is all about family, especially the grandchildren. They are very involved with the FarmHouse Fraternity and CSU Golf; they hold season tickets for CSU volleyball; and they give to the things they are most passionate about.

"We're pretty lucky," Jack says. "So, I think for those of us who have been successful, why not help others?"