Teresa Gabriel Harbaugh

teresa harbaugh

Teresa Gabriel Harbaugh


February 5, 1948 – January 6, 2016


Teresa Gabriel Harbaugh, beacon of love, loving mother and wife, business owner, art devotee and philanthropist, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday morning January 6 at Swedish Medical Center.

Born in 1948 to Doris and Louis Gabriel, Teresa grew up in San Bernardino, CA, attending St. Bernardine’s High School. In 1969, she graduated with a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Santa Clara, CA, during which time she studied abroad at the University of Vienna and Institute for European Studies, Austria. The following year, she took graduate art classes at Mills College, UC Berkeley, and in 1971, she received a Secondary Teaching Credential from the University of San Diego.

In 1973 she married her soul mate Paul Harbaugh, and in Denver, they began an extraordinary life of love, family, travel, art making and philanthropy. As the matriarch and pillar of her family and as a friend to so many, Teresa emanated grace, kindness and strength. Her positive outlook in every situation was a constant. Her mantras: “Anything’s possible” or “Do it! Don't look back; they might be gaining on you.” Her humor helped us understand. Paul and she often opened their home, rich with art, good cheer and a welcoming hospitality for so many celebrations. Guests and friends always left with a good feeling. Teresa’s openness to ideas and her non-judgmental way of entertaining new ideas was a joy to watch—her perspectives revealed a truly open and inclusive way of being in the world. All of us knew we were in the presence of an extraordinary mind. We all learned from her how to be positive and calm—a force for good. She was Paul’s partner in life and they were a most beautiful team in every thing they did. Our Teresa Louise is irreplaceable.

Teresa was an artist in everything she did--making art whether it was stained glass, pottery or painting. In 1980 she successfully founded AZUSA Publishing Inc., a Native American and frontier personalities post card company, which brought long forgotten images into the mainstream. In addition, Teresa was a long-time Commission Member for the Public Art Commission/Cherry Hills Arts Commission, and a founding board member of Englewood Art in 2001. She was a member of the Aspen Meadows Art Advisory Committee, Aspen, CO, and they were stalwart supporters of the Denver Art Museum, CU Art Museum, the DU Art Museum, and University of New Mexico Art Museum among others. Her opinions were creative and fresh and she was exceptionally knowledgeable both about art movements and about how to be a major contributor to a board.

Teresa leaves behind her husband of 42 years, Paul Harbaugh; her daughter Phaedra Harbaugh Sepesi, son-in-law, Boris Sepesi, granddaughters Eva and Elena, of Houston, TX; her son Jerad Harrison Harbaugh, daughter-in-law, Megan Glenn Harbaugh and granddaughters Lizzie and Katie of Englewood, CO; and her sisters Dayna Donatelli, Jan Marchese, Paula Yavari and Tricia Gabriel.

The funeral service will be held Friday January 15, 2016,11:00 A.M., at Cherry Hills Community Church—in the Chapel, 3900 Grace Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80126. In lieu of flowers, you may remember Teresa with a donation to the Cherry Hills Village Arts Commission (www.cherryhillsvillage.com/pac)or to Englewood Arts (www.englewoodarts.org). Family and friends are encouraged to share stories and photographs of Teresa here on her website (click appropriate tab above).



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Memories Timeline


  1. As everyone who just heard this news, I was shocked to hear of Theresa's passing. She was so full of warmth and life every time I met her, it just would never have occurred to me that anything could change that vigor and quiet energy you felt around her. My sincere condolences to all her family, and especially to Paul, whom I have got to know well in the past years. I cannot imagine the depth of what you are feeling now, and my heart goes out to you.

  2. Dear Paul,

    I was heartbroken to hear of Teresa's passing.  You have my thoughts and prayers.  You two were always so supporting of my work.  I remember when you were helping me with an exhibit and Teresa was entertaining my wife and our son Andrew in your back yard.  They both told me how wonderful it was spending time with her.  How lucky you were to have spent a lifetime with her, yet sad that you are without her now.  I'm so sorry my friend.

  3. I have known Teresa since the 2nd grade at Holy Rosary.  She was a beloved classmate at St. Bernardine's.  It was such a joy to see her at our 50th Reunion last summer.  She radiated goodness and beauty and everyone was always drawn to her.

    My deepest sympathy as you go through this painful time.  May the lovely memories of her and the knowledge of how much she is loved bring you comfort.

  4. Paul & Family,

    What terrible sadness to hear of Teresa's sudden passing.  She was such a lovely lady who was passionate about everything she did, and was warm and open to everyone she met.  Her love for her family was unsurpassed.  I can only hope that you find peace in this most difficult time.

  5. Paul,  I was so shocked to hear of Teresa's passing. As you probably know, our families shared a long history. Teresa was always a favorite of mine. While we lost contact, her passing puts a big hole in my heart. My sincerest condolences to you. Please also pass along my thoughts to her sisters and yours.  Barry

  6. Paula, Jan, Tricia, Dayna, and Paul and his Family,

    We are still in disbelief. We cannot imagine how it feels to unexpectedly lose such a vibrant-loving person, sister, wife, mother and grandmother. We are thinking of you all.

    We all three have such fond, childhood memories of Teresa and the Gabriel girls. Teresa was a bigger than life when we were growing up: the beautiful older sister, the prom queen, the good student, the artist, the popular girl. She was always doing something exciting. Paula, Tricia and I seemed to always be watching her and Dayna doing such exciting things. The first of the friends to report in front of all of the ladies and their daughters at the National Charity Tea that she would be going to college at Santa Clara, which seemed so far away. Then she went to Europe. She came back and exposed us to Gustav Klimt and abstract expressionism.

    Oh we all will miss her, but so glad to have had her in our lives.  So sorry.

  7. Thanks to the Camera Obscura Gallery, Loretta and Hal, I had the pleasure of meeting Theresa and Paul. I attended one of their wonderful parties and ran into them at several art openings over the years. Though I did not know Theresa very well, I knew what a beautiful, generous, loving soul she has. My condolences to Paul and the family.

  8. The message about Teresa's passing was  very unexpected.  We just saw her at our reunion.      

    She was very energetic and full of love. She will be missed.

    Both Rob and I send our condolences to her family.

  9. We are so heartbroken to hear the news of Teresa's passing. We've had the great pleasure of knowing Teresa and Paul through the Design Council of the Denver Art Museum.

    We first met them in 2008 at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center at an exhibit of 1950s fabric design. We felt an instant connection with both of them and sat in the cafe chatting about art and travel.

    Since then we've looked forward to seeing them at various events connected to art.

    We'll so miss Teresa's bright smile and warm hugs. And we'll continue to embrace Paul with all our hearts when we see him. Love to you all and thank you for sharing your wonderful Teresa with us.

    – Carrie & Craig

  10. As with all, I am in shock and disbelief and profound sadness to hear of Teresa's sudden passing.  I have admired her from the first time that I met her when our sons played tennis in high school.  Her depth of being, her kindness, calmness, sweetness, her lovely ability to relate to others, and her in depth intelligence and charm were immediately noticeable.  

           The world has experienced a terrible loss, but I know that Teresa's beautiful radiance will live on through her wonderful family and her good works will forever be part of the art world.  My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the entire family.  Hopefully your wonderful, sacred and strong memories and our sincerest recognition and admiration of your sister, wife, mother, mother in law, and grandmother will ease your terrible pain a tiny bit.  Teresa touched so many people in such positive ways.

           May we all learn from Teresa's undeniable example of living life to the fullest and of contributing so much although for much too short a time.

  11. RIP dearest classmate. I will always remember that smile, so beautiful and sincere. Prayers to the beautiful family you leave behind as you look down on them from heaven.

  12. I did not have the pleasure of knowing Teresa very well, but I knew her well enough to know what a sweet, loving, kind, knowledgeable woman she was.  And I know how much she meant to the people close to her – namely my aunt, Jill Wiltse, and my uncle, Kirk Brown.  I am so sorry to see hear of her passing, she was so full of life and such a gift to those she spent time with.  My thoughts are with her family and friends.  A true loss.

    Sincerely, Vanessa Brown

  13. Valdis, Yvonne, Inga, Sigurd

    We are so sorry to learn of Teresa's passing and send our heartfelt sympathies to all of you.  She was such a beautiful person whose love for her family was evident in her very being.  She had a wonderful smile for everyone and her kindness radiated in her eyes.  We are sorry that you have to go through this painful time.  We send our love.  The Zebauers

  14. Dear Gabriel and Harbaugh Family,

         I have know Teresa since grammar school at Holy Rosary, we are alums from St.Bernardine HS, when I saw her in June at the reunion she had not changed at bit from the first time I met her, a few gray hairs maybe but the same lovely smile, the same graciousness that welcomed everyone into her circle.

         Hers was a beautiful soul, seldom are we blessed with such a person here in our midst; she was called home much too soon.

      My deepest sympathy to each of you.

  15. Dear Paul,

    I worked with you at Victoria Station in 1972. I met Teresa at your house off 17th. She was always so kind to me when I was there. Such a wonderful lady! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.



  16. We have lost a wonderful, wonderful friend much too soon. Our memories of Teresa will be with us always.

  17. What a tragic loss for such a wonderful family.  Family always seemed to dominate so many discussions with Teresa.  A last memory was seeing her "playing business" with those three little granddaughters and Lucky at Azusa.  Teresa added so many dimensions to family and community. She will be deeply missed by so many.

  18. What a wonderful women Teresa was.  I had the pleasure of working with her on the Art Commission for several years.  I always looked forward to her smile as she walked in the room for our meetings.  She was an intelligent woman, she always had great ideas and was a voice of reason.  She was so kind to the staff at CHV and such a joy to talk with.  She gave so much and will be missed beyond words.  I am so sorry for your loss.  May the wonderful memories of her make you smile and bring you comfort. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  19. In the last few years I have gotten to know the lovely and beautiful light we call Teresa.  She is so graceful and loving and giving, sweat, radiant and stalwart.  I am sorry she decided to leave us all so soon but she must have a lot to do in her next life, thus the early departure.  Since her passing, I have felt her presence and I feel that she is still sparkling watching over us. The ones who are suffering are all of us because she is not present in her physical form. We will not be able to interact with her and that is sad.  We are sad.  Paul is so sad because the love of his life has passed on. I am so sad for the entire family and all you friends.  Teresa was one of a kind. Let us rejoice in having been so blessed to have known her.

  20. PAUL,

      I offer you my thoughts, prayers and well-wishes during this sad time in your life. It was a Blessing and an Honor to have known Teresa…Be Strong and Know that You have a Friend here in Santa Fe….Your Friend….THOMAS CAVALIERE.

  21. I was saddened to hear of Teresa's passing.  She was a lovely and beautiful woman and artist.  My heartfelt condolences to Paul and your family.  

    Cheryl Bankes

  22. I am so very sad to learn about Teresa's passing. I fondly remember an afternoon I spent at the house, looking at photographs with Paul and chatting with Teresa while she prepared a delicious lunch. I vividly remember her beautiful smile and generous warmth. She was one of those rare people who glowed.

    My deepest condolences.

    Daile Kaplan

  23. Teresa, or Tg (her initials then), and I went to school together for a marvelous year in Vienna. Oh, the stories I could tell. Suffice to say we were partners in crime for many schmecks of Schokoladen, innumerable pastries and museum visits, and oh yes, a glass or two of wine or beer. Teresa always brought something new to my life. After her mom sent her the necessary ingredients, she made our gang-of-5 Mexican dinner in Vienna, my first. I still use her chile relleno recipe! She introduced me to Andrea Boccelli, manushis, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Sante Fe, pottery and so much more. Most of all, she always brought her beaming smile and sense of wonder. Her gentle, lyrical voice. Her nonjudgmental ear. I treasure her creations—especially a stained glass piece she sent me "to ward off evil spirits" when I had surgery, that hangs in my kitchen to this day. Living in different cities, we haven't seen each other as regularly in recent years, but I miss her and still have to pinch myself to believe she's gone. We talked about growing old together—I had already signed up to crash the Gabriel girls retirement home in Cherry Creek. Neither one of us could have imagined we'd lose her so soon.

  24. Teresa was a dear friend in college – Santa Clara, '69. Wonderful memories of her from The Birdbath.

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