Leopold Antoni Czajkowski died at home in Gunnison on Jan. 9, with his life partner Gwen Pettit at his side, following a long battle with cancer.

Lee lived life to the fullest with a daily appreciation for beauty, nature and gratitude for every experience. His love of skiing was contagious. Every turn brought him joy and wonder for the ability to move and live in the mountains. He was a friend to all, and will be greatly missed.

Lee was born in London, U.K., in 1950, son of Roman Czajkowski and Aniela Jakielaszek. He spent his early life in Elmira, N.Y. He then headed west to attend Stanford University where he fell in love with the mountains, rivers and culture of the American West.

Lee settled in Crested Butte, where he pursued his passion for architecture, skiing and fishing. He graduated from Western State College in 1997. Lee collected an extensive library from the classics to the modern, which demonstrated his ongoing literary curiosity. Lee incorporated the written word into his own life and his relationship to the human experience.

“Skiing mountains is life itself. One thing fully lived and understood is enough,” Leopold Czajkowski, 2013.

Like his Polish ancestors, Lee was an excellent carpenter and he designed and built innovative homes as Cottonwood Builders.

Lee is survived by his loving partner Gwen Pettit, sister Helen (with husband Jim) and extended members of the Pettit, Mullen, Dean, Czajkowski, Grzesik, Jakielaszek, Uscinowicz, Ostrowski and Sardo families.

At Lee’s request, his body will be bestowed for medical research. Donations may be made to Living Journeys and Gunnison Valley Health Foundation. There will be an open house Saturday, Jan. 20, from 2-7 p.m. at 500 E Georgia. Bring a beverage, a dish or a story to share.