Former Aspen resident and photographer Loey Ringquist, born in 1919, died on Oct. 1.Ringquist worked at the Aspen Tintype Studio with Patrick Henry when she first came to Aspen in 1949. Many of her photos of Aspen in the 1950s and 1960s are in the Aspen Historical Society's archives, and are often featured on the Aspen Times "25, 50, 100 Years Ago" page of the Aspen Times Weekly.
Ringquist became well acquainted with the Aspen area after becoming a jeep driver for Natalie Genioux's Little Percent Taxi business. She drove her customers over every possible mountain pass in and beyond the Elk Range, showing them ghost towns, remote abandoned mines, wildflower meadows and some of the best trout holes in rivers and creeks along the ways.Partnered with Fritz and Fabi Benedict, she bought property up Brush and Owl Creeks and converted an ancient corn crib into a snug picturesque log home, that she called Faraway Ranch.
Her flower garden, with Mt. Daly as the backdrop, was a setting for her campfire evenings, where those of us lucky enough to know and lover her were invited to share her famous Slumgullion Stew and s'mores. As we watched the sunset colors fade and the aspen-wood flames shoot sparks to join the first evening stars, we felt embraced by the warmth and beauty of her world.Her doggie family was her "love life." No stray, unwanted dog was turned away. She once trained and treasured 15 dogs. Loey talked to her dogs as if they were intelligent kids, and they knew exactly what she meant and were the best mannered, most responsive animals.
With the event of the new Snowmass ski area, the die was cast, and continued development prompted her to sell out, as it did the Benedicts. She moved to a newly purchased ranch outside of Norwood, Colo., and left our valley bereft of one of our outstanding contemporary women pioneers. She and her twin sister, Louise, lived within yodeling distance of each other.Her home in Norwood was featured in several books about western homes, including "The Farmhouse," a big coffee table book by Chippy Irvine. The book has Dennis Krukowski's photographs and was published in 1987 by Bantam Books.Ringquist had a shop on Main Street in Aspen, where Design Workshop currently stands, specializing in American Indian jewelry and clothing from the late '40s, until her house was replaced by the Pitkin County Library.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.