Philip N. Wright III
October 8, 2004
Phil "Flip" Wright unexpectedly died Saturday.
Flip was born in Aspen on Dec. 29, 1954, to Joan and Phil Wright, founders of the Aspen Country Store. He graduated salutatorian from Aspen High School in 1973.
After briefly attending Montana State University, Flip returned to Aspen and founded Alpine Woodworking in 1976. He became a master craftsman. Flip had a love for fly-fishing and golf.
He leaves behind his beloved daughter, Kristin; a sister, Jennifer Wright Watanabe of Osaka, Japan; two nieces, Asia Wright of Aspen and Neomi Watanabe of Tokyo, Japan, as well as many more family and friends.
A memorial is planned at Herron Park for Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. with a reception following at the Elks Club.
In lieu of flowers, two memorial funds are being set up at Alpine Bank in Aspen. One will be for Kristin's education; the other will help with funeral and family expenses. If you wish to contribute, please send to Alpine Bank, 600 E. Hopkins Ave., Aspen, CO 81611, attn: Mary Ryerson.
October 8, 2004
This goes out to all those who knew Brian Briqueler and loved him as we did.
On Aug. 2, Brian died after a seven-year battle with cancer. He was 32.
He was born in western Massachusetts, and moved to Basalt at the age of 4 with his mother and sister. He attended Basalt schools from kindergarten until graduating from high school.
Having grown up in the valley, surrounded by the natural beauty of the mountains and their essence of spirituality, he became inspired to pursue his career in the artistic world.
He relocated to Los Angeles to broaden his acting career, but it was put on hold when he was diagnosed with cancer. After successfully completing his first round of treatment and radiation therapy, he decided to resume this career, but in another direction. He began drawing, taking photographs and painting. Like everything else Brian did, he was totally committed and passionate about his work.
He was one of the most gifted and talented artists and his work was truly unique. His family felt blessed that he was a part of their everyday lives.
Brian is survived by his mother, Ginger Briqueler, of Rio Rancho, N.M.; his sister, Robin Wallace, and her husband and daughter of San Diego; a grandmother in Boston; and two aunts, six uncles and 15 cousins.
A private celebration of Brian's life will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. with family and friends at his uncle's home in Carbondale.
October 7, 2004
Nel Darling died on Sept. 21 in San Antonio, Texas. She was born Nov. 15, 1930, in Meeker, the daughter of Herbert Edgar Bills and Essie McClanahan Bills. She lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for most of her life.
A connoisseur of fine wine, she worked for several years at Louie's Spirit House and later at Grape and Grain in Aspen. She married her husband, Ray Darling, on Sept. 25, 1969.
Ray was a chef in various fine restaurants throughout his career, including Krabloonik, where, with Nel as hostess, they provided exquisite dining for discriminating palates. An avid mountain hiker, she gathered exotic mushrooms for the restaurants, as well as for their own personal use.
The mountains of Colorado were home to Nel, and hiking became an avocation. Every summer through age 70, she hiked to Crested Butte and back with friends. It was an annual trip she looked forward to and for which she trained to be in shape.
She was an accomplished mountain photographer, and her work is known not only to friends and family, but has been exhibited in Texas galleries. She was also a lapidarist who created fine jewelry, an artisan seamstress fashioning eclectic clothing designs, and, along with Ray, a gourmet cook.
Nel was lavish with her love of friends and family, whom she cherished. Though she had no children of her own, she was second mother to her best friend Juanita Larson's children and was known to pin on the corsages at prom time with orchids from her greenhouse.
She had a host of friends, and was known to adopt many stray "children" and teach them about mushrooming, fine wine and the joy of being out in the wilderness.
The close-knit nature of the family was "orchestrated" to a large degree by Nel's sister, Pat Everly, recently deceased, of McAllen, Texas. Pat had been a teacher and kept the phone lines busy, keeping the family in touch with each other.
Nel is survived by husband Ray, his son, Earl and wife Debbie, and her beloved dog, Piper. Other surviving family members, all cousins, are children of the brothers and sister of Nel's mother, Essie McClanahan Bills. Her oldest cousin, Ruth, deceased, had two sons, Ted and Bruce Schmalz from Georgetown and Central City. Also surviving is Sibyl McClanahan Baker of Montrose; Ellie McClanahan, widow of Dean; and Jean McClanahan of Ignacio (widow of Bruce); all are children of Essie's brother, Argus.
Shirley Harris, Ed Lee, Gale, and Lynn McClanahan are children of Essie's brother, Russ Patrick.
None of her Bills family is living, but she was attentive to her grandmother Bills and her father's brother, "Jiggs" Bills, one of her very favorite people.
For information on the memorial, contact Margie Sturgis at 920-9577.
October 8, 2004
George Gidley of Basalt died on Oct. 1. He was 69. As many he knew are still unaware of his death, his wife of 30 years, Janet Gidley, and family asked to print this in his memory.
Gidley was born in Elizabeth, N.J., on July 19, 1934. He lived in the valley for 15 years. He is survived by his wife, Janet; two sons, Glenn and Scott Digley; and a grandson, Chris Gidley.
An avid skier and writer of poetry and crazed ramblings, Gidley also loved to create beautiful landscapes using rocks, flowers and plants for friends and family.
He is very much missed by his family and friends. Rest in peace, beautiful beast.
Charles W. Pecjak
October 15, 2004
Charles W. Pecjak, 81, of San Diego died Sept. 18.
He was born in Aspen on May 11, 1923, and was a retired meat cutter for Safeway Corp. He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II.
Survivors include his wife, Marion; daughters Robin Pecjak, of San Diego, and Kimberly Smith0, of Danville, Calif.; sister Ann Slavens, of Grand Junction, and a brother, of Grand Junction.
Services were held Sept. 27 at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma, Calif.
Donations can be made to San Diego Hospice, 4311 Third Ave., San Diego, CA 92103.
Richard F. Timmer IV
October 18, 2004
Richard F. Timmer IV, 40, of Aspen died Friday in Grand Junction from injuries sustained doing one of the things he loved, bicycling.
Richard was born Feb. 1, 1964, in Denver, the son of Richard F. Timmer III and Nancy Lee Puffer Timmer, who survive him. Though he grew up in Fredericksburg, Texas, he spent every summer at the Crooked Creek Ranch on the Eagle/Thomasville Road above Thomasville, where he developed a passion for the mountains and the outdoors.
Richard began a career competing in track and field in junior high school, but moved to Austin, Texas, during high school to compete at a higher level. At Westlake High School, he was state champion in the mile and two mile runs. He then attended Baylor University on a track scholarship.
Following college he began a career in the computer business, which he continued throughout his life. His career path took him from Austin to Dallas, then Guam and finally back to Colorado, returning to the Roaring Fork Valley in 1991.
Besides being known as the "computer guy, " Richard was an entrepreneur, developing numerous businesses in the valley. He began by reviving the Spring Creek Trout Farm, also located above Thomasville, which was a historic trout hatchery in the 1940s. He also participated in varied businesses, including hardwood flooring, commercial printing and a water bottling company.
Though he worked hard at his various enterprises, his life was not about work. Richard met his wife, Karen Crepps, in 1993. They married in 1998 at the trout farm. He was a loving father to his stepchildren, Katie and Joe Turner.
His hobbies were all focused on his love of the outdoors: running, hiking, camping and most recently, bicycling.
Richard had a special gift of making a connection with all who came into contact with him. His sincerity and genuine interest in people touched so many who will remember him and who will miss him. His novel sense of humor will keep his family and friends laughing for many years to come.
He will be memorialized in a service to be held Tuesday at the Prince of Peace Chapel in Aspen, with Pastor Tim Hawks of Hill Country Bible Church in Austin, Texas, officiating. After the service, a gathering will be held at The Aspen Club and Spa. Memorial contributions can be sent to Jody Cooper at Wells Fargo Bank.
November 1, 2004
Heather Hopton, a longtime resident of Aspen, died Sunday morning, Oct. 24, at her home. She was 62.
Heather was born in Upper Montclair, N.J., and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with her mother.
She received her Bachelor of Science from St. Lawrence University and her Master of Science, with a major in education, from the University of Florida in Gainesville. She also did work toward her doctorate at the University of Florida.
Heather arrived in Aspen in the late '60s with lifelong friend Sharon Kahn and hit the ground running. She taught children with learning disabilities and chaired the research committee at the Aspen Historical Society. Using that research she and Lilo Shuldener wrote a book for the historical society titled "Aspen's Early Days, a Walking Tour."
In 1971, Heather married Charles Hopton, another Eastern transplant who came and never left. Together, they were involved in many community organizations.
Heather loved children, animals and the environment. These loves manifested in many ways.
She served as a fund-raiser for the Aspen Music Festival. She also served on the board of the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, the Independence Pass Foundation, the Roaring Fork chapter of the Audubon Society and the Pitkin County Weed Management Board (for which she received a Weed Manager of the Year award from the state of Colorado).
Heather was a founding member of the Friends of Hunter Creek and a steering committee member of the group. Her love of Hunter Creek led her to fight for many years for public access to the Hunter Creek Valley. Heather's enthusiasm inspired many people to get involved. She was happiest working on community projects with others.
She loved the high country and hiked and camped with Charlie, dogs and friends. Heather is survived by husband.
A memorial service will be held at Paepke Auditorium on Nov. 27 at 10 a.m., followed by a reception at the Mountain Chalet at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her name to Wilderness Workshop, P.O. Box 9025, Aspen, CO 81612, or the Independence Pass Foundation, P.O. Box 1700, Aspen, CO 81612
November 8, 2004
Jere Pynnonen died suddenly from a heart attack on Friday.
Born March 29, 1952, in Lansing, Mich., Jere was a longtime Aspenite and a graduate from Okemos High School in Michigan.
He moved to the Aspen area in 1974 with his parents, Betty and Ole Pynnonen. Together, Jere and his father opened the family business of Aspen Upholstery located at the ABC.
Jere was an assistant manager for the Aspen junior girls' hockey team and belonged to Roaring Fork Valley Shooting Association. His athletic pastimes included skiing, rugby and softball. He also enjoyed playing in a recreation hockey league and participating in pick up games as well as going out with his buddies to play in the "Men Behaving Badly" golf tournament. He competed in an annual sailboat race around the Great Lakes (Mackinaw). Jere was an avid hunter and spent much of his time hunting with friends and family.
Jere was an involved and loving parent to Ashley and Desiree Pynnonen. He was an excellent father who devoted much of his time to supporting his daughters in athletics and sending them to college.
Jere is survived by Desiree and Ashley, parents Ole and Betty, sister Jill Pynnonen Buckman, former wife and mother of their children, Joann Dodea, and many friends and family that will miss him dearly.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Prince of Peace Chapel; a potluck lunch will follow.
A memorial fund for Aspen Junior Hockey will be established at Wells Fargo Bank.
Joseph William Barton
November 10, 2004
Joseph William Barton, a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley for 36 years, died last Wednesday in Carbondale. He was 44.
Barton, a former food server at the former Ritz-Carlton Hotel, suffered all his life from poor vision, a learning disability and fibroelastosis, a heart condition that led to his death.
Despite his disabilities, Barton found a community of friends and supporters around the valley, particularly at local bowling leagues and among frequent bus users.
"Because of his disabilities, people took advantage of him unless they knew him," sister Elaine McLaren said. "But he knew a lot of people. And they took care of him. He couldn't drive so he always rode the bus. He knew just about every bus driver and every schedule."
He is survived by his father, Thomas Barton, three brothers and two sisters. A remembrance service is planned for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Glenwood Springs on Saturday at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made out to 'Joe' at Alpine Bank, account number 5050945951.