Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

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February 22, 2014
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Voltmer, Aspen jazz host, dies at 78

He was often defined by his love of jazz, but Don Voltmer’s interests were as diverse as the jazz artists he enjoyed.

Voltmer, 78, died Monday from the effects of leukemia. He was best known for his “Jazztime With Don” show on KAJX-FM, Aspen Public Radio, which he hosted once a month.

Voltmer was ill in January but wasn’t diagnosed with acute leukemia until the second week of February.

“I thought we had at least another three years together,” said his wife, Leslie Shor. “It turned out to be only 31/2 days.”

Voltmer was passionate about playing tennis and was a founding member of the Maroon Creek Club. He started the first computer store and ran the first computerized payroll service on the Western Slope when he opened Aspen Computer in 1974.

Along with good friend Nick DeWolf and several other computer hobbyists, Voltmer founded the Aspen Computer Society. He also enjoyed traveling with his wife and loved their two dogs, Satchmo and Odie.

Voltmer was born in Detroit and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in accounting. He came to Aspen in 1972 from Denver to escape life in the big city. At that time, he was married to another woman, and the couple had one child in 1977, Steve, who currently lives in Duluth, Minn.

After divorcing his first wife in the 1980s, Voltmer began dating Shor in 1986, and the two married in 1988.

When he came to Aspen, he brought his love of jazz with him, a relationship that began when Voltmer was 12.

“I never asked him where his love of jazz came from,” Shor said. “But he grew up listening to music from the Swing Era. He really loved big-band swing music. I’m going to miss his all-around enthusiasm for any project he was working on. He had an endless curiosity about people and things. He always wanted to know more.”

According to his bio on the Aspen Public Radio website, Voltmer was a fan of classic jazz artists such as Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and more.

“Don was one of those guys where conversation with him came real easy,” said Roger Adams, news director at Aspen Public Radio. “He was a fountain of knowledge when it came to big-band jazz. When Don would walk into a room, everyone just smiled. He’s going to be missed.”

A gathering of remembrance is set from 3 to 5:30 p.m. March 9 at The Orchard in Carbondale.


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The Aspen Times Updated Feb 22, 2014 08:04AM Published Feb 22, 2014 08:05AM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.