Denver stabbing victims remembered as popular musician, promising English instructor

One of the two women killed in a domestic-violence double stabbing this week in Denver was a talented and popular local musician, while the other was a young, promising English instructor at the University of Colorado Denver.

The victims were identified Friday as Jennifer Gelvin, 49, and Katherine Pivoda, 33, by the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner.

Gelvin, also known as Jennifer Gelvin Rouse, was a widow who lost her husband, Keith Rouse, to a heart attack on Sept. 6, according to friends.

The couple, who were immersed in the Denver music scene and who fronted the Fabulous Boogienauts, leave behind two teenage children.

“They were great parents. They cared about whatever their kids were going through at school, or whatever was going on in their kids’ lives,” said Steve Illich, a longtime friend and former neighbor.

The Fabulous Boogienauts played mostly disco music, original songs and covers, Illich said. Keith Rouse was a trumpet player, who composed music, and Jennifer Rouse was a singer, who wrote lyrics.

“They lived up to their name — fabulous — they had an incredible following,” said Illich, who is also a trumpet player.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help the surviving Rouse children, Jada, 17, and Jaz, 14, who are with an aunt and uncle in Windsor.

“Lots of uncertainty lays ahead for these young kiddos and the rest of the family as a new life is laid out in front of them,” the GoFundMe page said. “These two kiddos are going to need all the support we can provide in the days, weeks, months and years to come. Not only emotionally, but also financially.”

The GoFundMe page seeks to raise $50,000 for funeral and memorial expenses, “new transitions, therapy and any other reasons that might arise.” As of Friday morning, 605 donors had raised just over $58,000. A separate GoFundMe page was posted shortly after Keith’s death.

Pivoda was an English instructor at CU Denver where she taught three classes. She earned a master of arts degree in literature from the university and was a current Ph.D. student. Pivoda spent two years teaching composition and literature in Beijing, China, where she was the associate program chair for CU Denver’s English program, according to the schools’ website.

The university confirmed her death on Friday.

Scott McLeod, Pivoda’s doctoral advisor, said she was known as “Katy.”

“She was pretty great, she has this vivacious spirit,” McLeod said. “Every single time I talked with her, she had an enormous smile on her face. She laughed a lot.”

Pivoda is the first student McLeod has lost in his 20 years as a professor, he said.

“She has a personality that lights up the room, she is going to be missed by a lot of people.”

Pivoda was also a young mother, with two children, according to a separate GoFundMe page seeking to raise $20,000 for the surviving kids.

The two fatal stabbings happened early Wednesday in the 2200 block of South Marion Street, police said. The attack has been described as domestic violence.

Pivoda’s estranged husband, Matthew Madden, 36, has been arrested as a suspect in the case. He is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder. Both women died at the scene.

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