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Rudd and Jim Welch tilting at windmills

In memory of Rudd Mayer

Mark Udall enters a tribute to Rudd Mayer into the Congressional Record

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-Extensions of Remarks E1565


Thursday, September 12, 2002

Mr. UDALL of Colorado.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Rudd Mayer, a loving mother, tireless worker for the environment and passionate citizen of Boulder, Colorado, who tragically passed away on August 13, 2002.

Rudd spent most of her life raising a family, but in her late forties she became a member of the Boulder-based Land and Water Fund of the Rockies working primarily on energy efficiency and renewable energy issues. Her work was essential in getting Colorado's publicly owned energy utility to include wind power as part of its energy supply portfolio. The success of that program is direct proof that Rudd was on to something. She was instrumental in encouraging consumers to pay a little extra for "green energy" such as wind power. She was the main force behind the program to allow consumers the choice of acting on their beliefs of a cleaner environment by helping to implement and promote renewable energy options.

In addition to her important work, Rudd was someone who held friends and family close and instantly drew people in, constantly forming new friendships and acquaintances. Rudd's presence would light up any room and her enthusiastic personality contributed greatly to gatherings of groups and individuals.

Rudd was first, and foremost, a mother. When her kids were growing up, she was always there after school, and set a table for six without fail. Rudd was incredibly active, and exercising was a huge part of her life in Winnetka, Illinois. She was an accomplished tennis player, platform tennis player, rollerblader, hiker, and skier. She also enjoyed golf, mountain biking, and swimming breaststroke with her head out of the water wearing Ray Ban sunglasses and a floppy white hat.

Rudd knew she belonged in the West ever since her father took her on a train to Yellowstone when she was about ten years old. When she arrived in Boulder in the 90's, it was like coming home. Once in Boulder she lived in a solar heated house in Sunshine canyon. Refusing to use electricity, she would wake up every morning and light a fire to heat the house. During the winter she would sleep in full ski wear.

Her first job in Boulder was at the Boulder Book Store. She grew to be a nationally recognized "green power" marketing expert at the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies. Shortly after her retirement, Rudd's energy program received a rare unsolicited grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. What we will remember in the end is more than her big smile, huge heart, and sparkling eyes. She was truly an inspiration without bounds to our family and everyone who knew her. Rudd had always believed in the river of life; she believed that all things had a purpose, and she would have said there was a reason this time for her to go. Attached is a news story marking her passing. Those that had the pleasure of knowing and working with Rudd will miss her bright smile, her love of life and her passion for enhancing our quality of life.

September 12, 2002


(By Katy Human)

Rudd Mayer, an energetic environmental advocate and the driving force behind Xcel Energy's successful wind-power program, died unexpectedly of heart failure Tuesday. She was 58.

The tiny, husky-voiced woman commanded great respect in Boulder's environmental community. "All day long, I've been getting e-mails from Rudd's colleagues about what a pioneer she was," said Susan Innis, green-power marketing director for the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, an organization for which Mayer consulted.
Several years ago, a merger settlement forced Xcel, then Public Service Company of Colorado, to develop a wind-power program, Innis said, but she said WindSource would have been a quiet, sidelined program without Mayer's input. Mayer and several colleagues developed a sophisticated marketing scheme for the wind program, which lets Xcel customers buy "green" power for slightly more than traditional electricity from coal-fired power plants. More than 23,000 households and businesses in Colorado are now signed up, according to Xcel figures.

Several organizations praised Mayer's work with awards, including the President's Council on Sustainable Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for Resource Solutions. Mayer's former colleague Kelley Green said her friend's greatest legacy is not WindSource but simply the attitude Mayer brought to her work. "There are lots of people who do really amazing and wonderful things for the environment," Green said, "but there are few that do it with her spirit, her integrity, her commitment, her joy."

Mayer was born Sept. 8, 1943, in Washington, D.C., to Dorothy and Rudyard K. Magers. She spent most of her childhood in Evanston, Ill., and graduated from Smith College with a bachelor's degree in art history. She married Richard Mayer, her high school sweetheart, said Brooke Mayer Larson, a daughter. The two later divorced but remained friends.

Mayer lived in Boulder for about a decade, and the West suited her, Larson said. "She's such a passionate person. She loved the mountains, the land, the desert. . . ."

Mayer had some health problems as a result of childhood illness but was one of the most enthusiastic and energetic people around, said Claudia Putnam, also of the Land and Water Fund. On Tuesday morning, a friend of Mayer's drove her to Boulder Community Hospital because she was having trouble breathing, Putnam said.

Mayer is survived by four children- Larson, Alexandra Mayer Druker of Palo Alto, Calif., Taylor Mayer of Billings, Mont., and Campbell Mayer, who has been traveling around the world, and five grandchildren. The family has asked donations be sent to the Land and Water Fund to support wind power.