Walt Imhoff, a major Colorado philanthropist and one of the most influential investment bankers in Denver's history, died Feb. 11. He was 82.

Imhoff, who was inducted into the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 2011, co-founded a firm in 1960 that later became known as Hanifen, Imhoff. In 2000, the firm merged with Stifel, Nicolaus, where Imhoff's son Michael Imhoff remains senior vice president and managing director.

Walt Imhoff left Stifel as managing director in 2007.

"He was the epitome of class, a gentleman, and a man of his word," said Ronald Kruszewski, chairman president and chief executive of Stifel. "He was a shrewd businessman but also a gentleman. He showed you didn't have to sacrifice one to be the other."

Those who worked with Imhoff remember him as a respected finance expert who often partnered with Wall Street investment banks on bond deals as Denver and Colorado were hitting their modern growth streak.

"He was just a lion in the bond community," said Denver attorney Dee Wisor, who met Imhoff in 1977. "Colorado would be a different place without Walt."

"Anybody in New York who wanted a good local partner, Walt would be their first call," said Lee White, executive vice president for George K. Baum & Co. in Denver.

"Walt was a model of integrity and deportment and he proved the notion that you do yourself well if you do your client well," White said. "We all admired him. He was a competitor of mine, but he was always ethical and fair."

Imhoff and his late wife Georgia provided fundraising support for dozens of organizations, including Friends of Nursing, Denver Area Council of the Boy Scouts, St. Joseph Hospital, the Children's Diabetes Foundation, Colorado Concern, Families First, Rocky Mountain PBS and Colorado UpLift. At the Kempe Foundation for the prevention of child abuse, Imhoff led capital campaigns that raised $17 million, according to Ren Cannon, chair of the foundation.

"It will be difficult to imagine life at Kempe without him," Cannon said.

Born Walter F. Imhoff at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver on Aug. 7, 1931, Imhoff earned a bachelor of science degree in 1955 from what was then Regis College. He joined Coughlin & Co. as an assistant vice president that year, leaving five years later to join Edward A. Hanifen and Norbert J. Samford in establishing Hanifen, Imhoff & Samford Inc.

The firm's name changed its name to Hanifen, Imhoff in 1980. By then, it was one of the top investment banking firms in the region.

Imhoff was preceded in death by his first wife Mary Sheila Imhoff and his second wife Georgia Imhoff, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2009.

Survivors include Michael Imhoff and four other children, Theresa Schafer of New Jersey, Robert Imhoff of Los Angeles, Stacy Ohlsson of Denver and Randy Ohlson of Littleton.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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