Civic Leader and Activist
Harriet Ann Coates was born in 1930, in Long Beach, California. In 1955 she married Paul (Parviz) Azari in Berkeley, where she earned a degree in history from the University of California at Berkeley. The couple and their five children moved to Fort Collins in 1972 when Paul accepted a position at Colorado State University.
When she arrived in Fort Collins, she decided to make a difference. Accordingly, Ann served three terms as Fort Collins mayor, 1993-1999. She first was elected to the city council in 1989, serving three years as mayor pro tem. Believing in the value of shared information, during her tenure she was active nationally as chair of the U.S. Department of Commerce Census 2000 Advisory Committee and co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Census Task Force. She also served on the National League of Cities Advisory Council.
To emphasize her belief in interactions among different cultures, she helped organize Chinese New Year and Baha’i celebrations and worked to promote inclusiveness. A music lover and one-time aspiring singer, she encouraged her five children to play instruments and to appreciate classical music as she did.
Seeing the need for businesses to invest in downtown, she owned and operated an imports store, Caspian Ltd., before joining the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment from 1983 to 1987. In that capacity she served several positions including associate director of the Governor's Job Training Office, director of field operations, and director of information resources.
Ann served on the executive board of the Colorado Municipal League and on the boards of the Downtown Development Authority, the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters of Larimer County, the Platte River Power Authority and the Girl Scouts Council. She was instrumental in the development of Arts Alive, an organization to support local arts.
Always open to new people and ideas, Ann Azari believed in the power of community, public-private partnerships and linking people to achieve goals. Her service to Fort Collins in many significant ways made a difference.
"Do what you love; success will follow. Don't listen to the dream killers."