Denver Zoo President Freiheit Dies At 69

Freiheit Helped Create Conservation Department

Denver Zoo officials said President and CEO Clayton Freiheit, who held the top position at the zoo for 37 years, died Sunday.

Freiheit was 69. He had been battling cancer.

Freiheit was born in Buffalo, N.Y.

He was just 22 when he was appointed to the top position at the Buffalo Zoological Gardens in 1960.

He became executive director of the Denver Zoological Gardens 10 years later. His title was revised to president and chief executive officer in 1998.

During Freiheit's tenure, the Denver Zoo created its conservation department and expanded its education programs.

A memorial service is being planned.