Marcelee Gayl Gralapp

Obituary
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Gralapp
MARCELEE GAYL GRALAPP
11/02/1931
01/17/2019
Marcelee Gralapp was a seeming study in contradictions. A political force to be reckoned with, she was willing to mow down her opposition in pursuit of a cause she believed in. Yet one-on-one, she was thoughtful, kind, giving and supportive, a big-hearted woman who believed in empowering young women and helping others.
At the heart of everything Marcelee did was an unquenchable passion and enthusiasm for the community she loved and cared for.
Marcelee Gayl Gralapp died Jan. 17, 2019 of natural causes at her home in Boulder. She was 87.
She was born Nov. 2, 1931 in Winfield, Kansas to Benjamin Harry Gralapp and Lelia Compton Gralapp. After graduating from the Kansas State Teacher's College in 1952, Marcelee worked as the children's librarian for the Hutchinson (Kan.) Public Library and Lawrence (Kan.) Public Library.
In 1959, then-Boulder Public Library director Claude Settlemire hired her as associate library director, in part to help with an upcoming bond issue to build a new library building. The bond passed, and the new library opened in 1961.
In the meantime, Marcelee created the children's services department in the old building and earned a master's degree from the University of Denver. In 1966, she was appointed library director, a post she would hold for the next 37 years.
As librarian, Marcelee was instrumental in transforming the library into an important community institution. She oversaw the opening of three new branches, the Carnegie Library for Local History and the George Reynolds Branch and Meadows Branch libraries.
She was a tireless advocate for literacy and the arts in Boulder. She used her influence to help establish everything from the Boulder Library Foundation to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and the Dairy Center for the Arts.
Marcelee served as chair of the state of Colorado committee for library development, was on the board of directors for the Boulder Center for Visual Arts and was the city of Boulder's chief liaison to the Boulder Arts Commission. She also served as visiting faculty to the University of Denver and the Kansas State Teacher's College.
She received many accolades during her career, including lifetime-achievement awards from the Colorado Library Association and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, and she was named Woman of the Year by the Boulder chapter of Business & Professional Women of Colorado.
In her many years of public service, Marcelee was unafraid not only to take a firm stand, but to vigorously defend her position, even in the face of public criticism. She was a tough negotiator and did not suffer fools, gladly or otherwise; not everyone liked her, but all respected her.
Marcelee leaves no survivors. She was preceded in death by her sister, long-time Boulder resident Sharon Gralapp, in 1998.
No services will be held, at Marcelee's request. Memorial contributions may be made to the .
M.P. Murphy & Associates funeral directors of Boulder, CO. is in charge of arrangements.


Funeral Home
M.P. Murphy & Associates Funeral Directors
7464 Arapahoe Road
Boulder, CO 80303-1500
(303) 530-4111
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Published in The Gazette on Feb. 3, 2019
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