(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Kimball’s Peak Three Theater in Downtown Colorado Springs is closed until further notice while staff mourn the loss of owner Kimball Bayles.

The titles that are normally found on the marquee of one of Colorado Springs’ only independent movie theaters, Kimball’s Peak Three Theater, are gone. In their place is a tribute to its longtime owner, Kimball Bayles.

The Downtown Partnership said Bayles had shown independent films to Downtown moviegoers since 1991, and at the current Kimball’s Peak Three Theater since 1994.

The theater shared on Facebook on Friday, Jan. 13 that Bayles had passed away, and that the theater would be closed until further notice. “Our hearts are broken,” the marquee on Pikes Peak Avenue reads, followed by the incredible life of one of Colorado Springs’ most prominent and passionate film lovers, all crammed in to one little dash: 1952-2023.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bayles family in this difficult time,” the theater shared on Facebook. All showings were cancelled until further notice, and refunds granted to those who had already purchased tickets for the weekend.

Kimball’s Peak Three Theater survived the pandemic, when a lot of other small, independent businesses had to throw in the towel, simply due to the overwhelming loss of revenue. That may be in part due to Kimball Bayles’ indominable love of the movies, and what they represent to people and community.

“It’s date night, it’s going out to dinner, it’s the whole social fabric of what we like to do,” Bayles said in an interview with FOX21 News in December of 2020.

And it’s that social fabric that Bayles clung to through the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, funding the theater out of his own pocket at times.

Courtesy: FOX21 News file photo

“I funnel a lot of my own money. We are the only independent theater in Colorado Springs. We’ve been here too long to say adios,” said Bayles when asked what the future of Kimball’s Peak Three looked like in a post-pandemic world. “We’re in it to win it. We’re going to be ok.”

And that they were – after more than a year of restrictions, Kimball’s Peak Three Theater reopened its doors in April of 2021.

Bayles touched many lives in Colorado Springs and beyond, leaving a lasting impression on the small business and arts community. Governor Jared Polis shared the news of Bayles’ passing on Twitter, calling him a “significant community pillar” and saying he would be deeply missed.

Kimball Bayles was 70 years old.