It was with a heavy heart that we said farewell to our friend and former CBA-CLE colleague Elizabeth “Liz” Giordano last week. Liz passed away on December 28, 2013 after a courageous fight with pancreatic cancer. Every person Liz met, even if only for a short time, was affected by her vibrancy and usually ended up sharing a laugh with her. Liz was known also for her huge heart and compassion for those less fortunate.
Liz graduated from Broomfield High School, then on to the University of Colorado Boulder for undergrad, and continued with CU for her law degree. After graduation, Liz’s professional experiences included positions at the Adams County Attorney’s Office, the First Judicial Court of the State of Colorado, Coors Brewing Company, the Hispanic National Bar, and Colorado Bar Association CLE. Liz was a member of the Colorado Bar Association, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the American Corporate Counsel Association. She was instrumental in the development and success of the Spanish Language Lawyering Committee.
We were sad to lose her as a program attorney at CLE, but in 2003 Liz found her true vocation when she began her own law practice focusing on immigration matters for religious workers. Twenty-seven vested priests and deacons presided at the mass for her on January 3 at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, where she was a devoted member. At the mass, in addition to her sister and sister-in-law sharing memories of Liz, 13-year-old Kayli Jankowski gave a touching eulogy, saying, “She was my angel on earth who has now earned her wings.” When she was very young, the teen received a life-saving bone marrow transplant from Liz.
Due to her work securing visas for hundreds of priests and religious, the impact Liz had on the Church was great, said Msgr. Tom Fryar, moderator of the curia. “Especially when you think about the number of babies baptized, the number of funerals celebrated, weddings prepared and celebrated, Masses, and the number of people helped by the priests and religious who arrived here in Denver with proper immigration papers because of her work.” “Liz was not about Liz,” he added, “She was about others… The truth is she poured out her life for others. She will be deeply missed.”
Liz’s passions also included her beloved dogs, gardening, flowers, and creating beautiful things. She started the tradition of transforming the CLE offices over the holidays into a lovely landscape of blue and white.
She is survived by her husband, Toby, and their almost two-year-old “miracle baby,” Grace Katherine Giordano; her mother, brother, four sisters, 26 nieces and nephews, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
We will miss Liz greatly, but we also feel grateful that we had the chance to know her and share in her great spirit.