Neil Westergaard, the former executive director of The Denver Post and editor of the Denver Business Journal, has died. (Image via YouTube/Independent Thinking)
DENVER, CO — Neil Westergaard, a former executive editor of The Denver Post and editor of the Denver Business Journal, has died. The 67-year-old passed away Sunday after heart surgery at the University of Colorado Hospital, The Denver Post reports.
Westergaard earned many awards during his time as executive editor at The Denver Post from 1993 to 1996 and editor-in-chief of the Denver Business Journal from 1999 until he retired in 2018.
A member of the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame, Westergaard recently began contributing a column to Colorado Politics, and was named Colorado Newspaperperson of the Year in April.
Nearly a decade ago, he was named to the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame.
While Westergaard was working for the Denver Business Journal, the publication earned national honors from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing.
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Westergaard also received the Society of Professional Journalists’ Lowell Thomas and Keeper of the Flame awards for lifetime achievement.
Born and raised in Chicago, Westergaard earned a degree in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado and worked at the Colorado Springs Sun in 1975 as a political reporter. He was promoted to Capitol bureau chief, and then hired by The Denver Post in the same role.
He led the creation of The Post’s first website and helped to grow its readers before he left in 1996 to spend several years working in communications for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado. He was then hired as an editor of the Business Journal, where he worked for 14 years.
Westergaard is survived by his wife, Cindy, and his children Ben and Rachel.
In a statement released Monday to The Denver Post, Cindy said her husband was "a great man who loved his family, his friends and his community." She said he "was happiest when he was stirring up the waters in Denver and Colorado politics."
"We’ve lost a great journalist."