Elizabeth Loescher, founder of The Conflict Center, passed away early Sunday morning
after a valiant struggle with cancer. She died at home surrounded by her family, as was her wish. Ms. Loescher, known as Liz by friends and colleagues, was a dedicated educator and peacemaker who devoted her life to improving the lives of others through teaching violence prevention skills to children and adults.
Ms. Loescher founded The Conflict Center in 1987 and ran the organization out of her basement for the first few years of its existence. As a teacher, Ms. Loescher saw first-hand how conflict in classrooms interfered with students’ ability to learn and how much instructional time teachers lost because of having to referee those conflicts. Ms. Loescher turned this need into an opportunity by creating a new curriculum to teach students how to handle their own conflicts without resorting to violence. The curriculum she devised is called Peacemaking Made Practical and was originally designed for elementary school students, but has since been adapted for middle and high school students. This curriculum has proven to be effective based on empirical data and forms the basis for much of The Conflict Center’s work today. Over its 28 year history The Conflict Center has served over 170,000 individuals by teaching and modeling skills to prevent violence, encourage better communication and problem-solving, and build stronger relationships. Ms. Loescher retired from The Conflict Center in 2002. During her active retirement she spent time with her children and grandchildren, and in 2010 she was a key player in the establishment of a second violence prevention organization, The Georgia Conflict Center located in Athens, Georgia.
Michael Hoops, immediate past President of The Conflict Center’s Board of Directors, had this to say: “I’m sad to hear the news that one of my heroes has passed. I feel a tremendous responsibility to keep her mission alive.”
Ron Ludwig, The Conflict Center’s Executive Director, commented: “Liz was a great woman and one of the true peacemakers in my life. We are honored to continue her legacy and her mission of peacemaking.” Mr. Ludwig also spoke of the growth The Conflict Center experienced during its fifteen years of operating under her leadership. When The Conflict Center outgrew its operating space in the mid-1990s, Liz directed a capital campaign that got and fully renovated the building that now houses The Conflict Center. The three-year campaign was successful without ever incurring any debt or mortgage on the property, which enabled The Conflict Center to continue operating with comparatively low overhead and to offer violence prevention skills to all members of the community regardless of socioeconomic status.
Liz is survived by her children Jeff Loescher (and wife Carol), Mick Loescher (and wife Erin), and Suzy Loescher Quinlan (and husband Jeff), and eight grandchildren.
There will be a rosary service on Friday 9/18 at 7pm, and a funeral mass on Saturday 9/19 at 1pm. Both will be held at 10:30 Catholic Community, 1100 Fillmore St., Denver CO.