Everyone was feelin' alright when the doors opened to the Cocker Kids Foundation holiday house sale last Friday morning. More than 300 people lined up early to pay $5 to get first pick of thousands of items belonging to the late Joe Cocker and his wife, Pam.
"I think everyone really enjoyed it," said Pam Cocker on Sunday after the last items were auctioned off. "It was like a big adventure for the community." By the end of the three-day sale, only a few wooden folding tables remained unsold. The sale netted $99,000 for the foundation. "We were very pleased," said Cocker.
"The sale was so awesome," said foundation board member Pam Bliss. By closing time Saturday, very little remained, and a final auction was held Sunday. Among items were books, dishes, linens, clothing, furniture, fine jewelry, Christmas items and artwork. A chinchilla bedspread, which didn't sell, and memorabilia related to the late rock singer's decades-long career were the only items not offered at auction, although most of the memorabilia sold, said Bliss.
Pam's fine jewelry was put on display at noon Friday and was gone before 1 p.m. A lot of people left the sale with "a bit of glitz," said Bliss.
Other unique items, including a collection of lead soldiers and books on Antarctica and World War II represented the many interests of Joe Cocker, said Bliss. Hundreds of DVDs represented his membership in the Screen Actors Guild.
With a little help from their friends, the sale went off without incident. Cocker said that about 40 volunteers, including security, worked opening day, and a core of about a dozen worked around the clock the last two weeks to put the sale together.
Since 1998 the Cocker Kids Foundation has provided more than $1 million to North Fork area youth. The CKF has funded technology needs for area schools, recognized outstanding teachers and helped to support summer sports programs. Former coach Steve Swartzendruber, who along with wife Cindy were among the first in the door Friday morning, said CKF has been very generous to the community over the years. The foundation supported his summer baseball teams. "They made us work for it," said Swartzendruber.
CKF also supports Camp Good Grief! for children who have lost loved ones, and the Dream Catchers scholarship program for graduating high school students. Most recently, the foundation funded a solar project at Paonia High School, which students taking a course in solar photovoltaic systems through Solar Energy International will build and install.
While Pam Cocker has listed the 243-acre Mad Dog Ranch in Crawford for sale, the foundation "will continue to fund the needs of youth in the North Fork Valley," said Bliss. "This is not going to end."
Bliss is one of five founding members still serving on the board, which says a lot about their dedication, said Bliss. "It says a lot about the graciousness of Pam and Joe."
Cocker said she will remain active in the foundation for as long as she remains in the area. Giving has been a lifelong passion, said Cocker, who worked with children for 15 years prior to moving to Colorado with Joe. She learned the art of giving from her mother, who, she said, was also very generous. "We love this community," said Cocker. "Joe and I felt so welcomed when we moved here. It's been a real pleasure for me, and for Joe."
The Cockers have also been big supporters of KVNF public radio. Joe Cocker's custom 1995 Jaguar V12, with 31,500 miles, was auctioned off through eBay as part of the KVNF holiday auction, with a winning bid of $25,705 being awarded Sunday night. "Joe would have been really thrilled," said Cocker. According to eBay, the last three CDs he was listening to, which were not named, remain in the six-CD changer for the new owners to enjoy.
Calling all volunteers! Fort Uncompahgre on the Old Spanish Trail has received six new tipis that will be used as outdoor classrooms in conjunction with the Nature Connection. John Hardy has volunteered to lead a group of folks who are willing to learn how to set up the tipis and pitch in where necessary.