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Obituary: Ron Thompson

Ron Thompson

January 8, 2021

Ron Thomson, Aspen resident for 43 years, died while on vacation in Scottsdale, Arizona January 8th, 2021. Death came from an infection in his sole kidney after a misdiagnosis and removal of the other one just three years ago.

After growing up in Milwaukie, Oregon and being an Oregon Duck, Ron started his life’s work as an air traffic controller for the U.S. Air Force, based in the Philippines, during the Vietnam War, and later worked as a civil engineer here in the Roaring Fork Valley, but his most satisfying work was as a U.S. Forest Service employee and later as a volunteer for the U.S. Forest Service. He managed the Wilderness Program at Zig Zag Ranger District on the Mount Hood National Forest, in Oregon and White River National Forest here in Aspen.

When not working he was exploring the world on his own time visiting some 101 countries.

Of the many non-profit environmentally-based organizations and endeavors that Ron was personally involved with over the years, he was proud of helping start the Independence Pass Foundation with Bob Lewis in 1989.

Ron leaves behind his adoring wife, Donna.

His ashes will be spread at the Maroon Bells when the flowers are in full bloom this spring and his spirit will always live there.

Obituary: Forrest Bertholf

Forrest Bertholf

March 25, 1937 – January 5, 2021

Forrest Ray Bertholf of Park City Utah was born to Mildred Duffy and Wilbur Bertholf in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He died from complications due to COVID at age 84 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated Garfield County High School in 1955 and moved to Aspen Colorado where he met and married his first wife Heidi. He joined the U.S. Armed Reserve in 1959 and was honorably discharged in April 1965, after which he began his own ski business, The Aspen Highland Ski Shop. He was an avid fisherman and loved to hike, jeep the backcountry, and arrowhead hunt. In the summers he worked landscaping. He left Aspen in the 1970s for Park City, Utah where he remarried and started another family and landscaping business. He is preceded in death by both parents and his brother Desmond. He is survived by his sister Velma (Sable) Peterson, three children by his first marriage (Michele Bertholf, Chris Bertholf, and Nicole Bertholf), a daughter from his second marriage (Mia Keller) and several grandchildren, nieces and nephews. We will share stories and celebrate his life at a small family gathering in the future.

Obituary: Patricia Madeline Chambers (Guglielmo)

Patricia Madeline Chambers (Guglielmo)

January 30, 1947 – February 12, 2021

Patty was the oldest of 6 children who with her sister moved to Aspen in 1972 from West Hartford, CT. She started her Aspen Journey at the Blue Spruce Lodge as a housekeeper and from there went on to work at the Wienerstube Restaurant as a hostess for Helmut and Gerhardt . Years later she married Kenny Chambers and resided at his ranch on East Sopris Creek in Basalt. Eventually they moved to Rifle to her husband’s family ranch where they raised cattle, horses and other live stock . They eventually moved to Rangely, CO. Patty was predeceased by her husband Kenny in 2015 and is survived by her sister Joanie Storey Guglielmo of Basalt, Peter Guglielmo and wife Linda of Carbondale, Paul Guglielmo and wife Amy of Branford CT, Phil Guglielmo of Farmington, CT, Patrick Guglielmo and wife Sally of West Hartford, CT and numerous nieces and nephews.

Obituary: Donette Rene Vincent

Donette Rene


March 2, 1957 – February 21, 2021

Donette, loving mother, daughter, sister, and friend, passed away abruptly on Sunday, February 21st in Colorado Springs. Born in Medford, Oregon to Donald and Alyce Vincent.

Donette began her decorated real estate career in her twenties in Casper, Wyoming. She later settled down in Colorado, where she continued to grow her business and build a life of which she was immensely proud.

Donette had a larger-than-life personality and was deeply loved by all that knew her. An avid Entertainer, with a special love of Christmas time, Donette enjoyed cooking for family, gardening, she was creative and visual and had a passion for interior design. Most of all however, was her love of her son, Travis, to which there is no comparison.

Donette was preceded in passing by her mother, Alyce and her sister, Candice. She is survived by her father, Donald, her brother, Don, and her dear son, Travis, and a fiercely loving group of extended family and life long friends. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the chihuahua and small dog rescue. www.chihuahua-smalldogrescue.org

Service announcements to follow at a later date.

Obituary: Martha Robinson

Martha Robinson

February 6, 2021

Martha passed away quietly and without warning at home early Saturday morning. Thank you to the Carbondale police officers and the EMTs of the Carbondale Fire Department for their quick response and professionalism.

Martha was born in Youngstown, Ohio and grew up in Langhorne, PA. In 1973, she decided to take a road trip and stopped in Aspen just by chance. She quickly made a friend and soon had a job and a place to live. Her life in the valley had begun.

She became the first female ski mechanic employed at the Buttermilk rental shop. It was there that she was introduced to Ken Robinson by a fellow employee and college friend of Ken. That introduction began a relationship that lasted over the next 50 years. In the 70’s, Ken and Martha worked hard and played hard and had a family of friends that looked out for each other. They skied, hiked, camped, gardened, helped with Elk’s Club picnics, enjoyed entertaining, and had a great time together.

In 1979, Martha and Ken purchased property near Catherine’s Store and built a home. They were married on Oct 10, 1981.

Martha began a long relationship with the owners of Elam Construction in 1974. She started as a part-time employee for Bob and Mildred Elam. Over the next 30 years she worked as the office manager of the Woody Creek operation and became the trainer and manager of many of the other operations throughout Colorado. She finally retired and enjoyed a brief respite before sharing her business skills with a few local non-profits that she and Ken supported. Martha donated almost full-time hours to HomeCare and Hospice of the Valley and to YouthZone.

Martha and Ken’s love of travel began in the mid 80’s when they could finally afford a “honeymoon” trip. They spent a few weeks in the wine country of California. They had developed many personal relationships with the owners of many of the wineries through the years that Ken owned and operated Roaring Fork Liquors. That “honeymoon” trip began many years of national and international travel. In the early days of travel, Martha and Ken had some rather interesting experiences that they fondly remembered but never wanted to repeat. At the Carbondale Happening fundraiser for the Carbondale Rotary Club, Ken bought a week’s trip on a Seabourn cruise and Ken and Martha were spoiled for life. They enjoyed many wonderful adventures in Italy, the Caribbean, Alaska, and points in between. They traveled to many Rotary International conferences and always spent time before and after visiting the regions. Martha and Ken spent quality time in Australia, Portugal, Montreal, Toronto, Atlanta, and New Orleans. By planes, trains, and automobiles, they enjoyed a six-week tour of Europe including Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic with cruises on the Rhine and Danube.

Martha always brightened a room with her smile, and Ken will always remember her laugh. She was also as serious, get-down to business as they come. Martha was a force for good of that there is no doubt. She has been Ken’s soulmate, best friend, and supporter for most of the last 50 years. She always had his back in whatever venture he became involved. Ken misses and will continue to miss her every day, one day at a time.

In lieu of flowers, please share an act of kindness with someone near and dear or a stranger that could use a hand up. Or if you chose, please consider a contribution to HomeCare and Hospice of the Valley at www.hchotv.org or YouthZone at www.youthzone.com. Both organizations are important to Martha and Ken, and they have actively worked with each for many years.

Hug your significant other and tell them you love them.

Martha leaves behind her loving husband, Ken Robinson; niece, Courtney Kurtz; nephew, Jourdan Kurtz and several cousins in Tennessee, Colorado, and California.

Cremation has taken place. Martha’s ashes will be scattered in Colorado in a private family gathering.

Obituary: Alison C. Church

Alison C. Church

March 7, 1966 – February 15, 2021

Alison Cameron Church, 54, of Aspen, Colorado, passed away peacefully on Monday, February 15, 2021, surrounded by her loving family after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Despite her illness, Alison remained positive and spread joy to those around her.

Born on March 7, 1966, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Gerald and Maria Church, Alison grew up in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. She graduated from Park School in Brookline, Massachusetts, Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut, and Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

Alison loved all things in nature, from hiking to birding or gardening; she possessed St. Francis-like qualities, wanting to take care of all God’s creatures, large and small. Her passion for botany led her to work at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum and later Harvard’s Herbaria, for whom she traveled to Indonesia to collect botanical specimens. She spent time in Mysore, India, where she discovered a love for Ashtanga yoga. Later she moved to Boulder, Colorado, to continue her yoga practice culminating in her Pilates instructor certification.

While in Colorado, Alison met Ed Schmidt, fell in love, and was married in Boca Grande, Florida. Ed has been her greatest strength and best friend since the day they met. She will live on forever in his heart. Most of all, she loved and adored her daughter, Maya. Maya was her entire world, and she wanted nothing but the best for her in life.

Alison was a kind and loving person with a joyful and compassionate heart. She greeted those she loved with her infectious smile and endless charm. Family meant everything to Alison, and she maintained very close relationships with everyone, including lifelong friends. She was a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, and a true friend who will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.

Alison leaves behind her loving husband Ed Schmidt and their beloved daughter Maya Rose Bright, her father and mother Gerald and Maria Church, and her sisters Emily Church and Laura Wilmerding, along with numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

A celebration of life services will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Alison’s name to Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s metastatic breast cancer program in Boston, Massachusetts, or Pathfinder’s in Aspen, Colorado.

Obituary: Mary Elizabeth Droste

Mary Elizabeth


April 10, 1920 – February 14, 2021

Mary Elizabeth Droste passed away peacefully on Valentine’s Day, a very fitting end for such a loving woman, after 100 years, 10 months and 4 days of learning and adventure.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas she graduated from the University of Arkansas at the age of 17 and blazed a pioneering path for women in architecture when she went on to study under the famed Bauhaus architect, Mies van der Rohe at what is now Illinois Institute of Technology. She was the first female graduate pursuing such a course of study.

With her late husband Albert she had two boys, Peter and Bruce and in 1951 moved to Aspen, Colorado where she loved to garden, horseback ride, ski and attend the famous Aspen Music Festival, as a volunteer at the lemonade stand/tent.

She returned to Texas in 1975 and then moved to New Pond Village in Walpole, MA in 2016 where she thrived on new friendships, visits from children and grandchildren, and Boston Symphony concerts.

Her remains will be returned to Colorado to join her late husband in the Aspen Grove cemetery.

Obituary: Bob Cook

Bob Cook

June 27, 1943 – January 8, 2021

….. A Friend for All Seasons

In the early morning hours of Friday, January 8, 2021, Bob Cook breathed his last. He was home in Colorado, sleeping peacefully next to Marsha, his soul mate for more than 45 years. In typical Bob Cook fashion, he slipped away quietly, without fanfare.

For Bob he finally escaped the illness and multiple surgeries that had racked his body for more than a year.

For the rest of us, we miss Bob greatly. But we know where to find him.

When the rubber duckies splash helter-skelter down the Roaring Fork River, Bob will be there cheering. When the vets gather in Aspen for the annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, Bob – a proud Marine himself – will be helping them land their trophy fish. When the Tour de France passes through scenic mountain villages, Bob will be hidden somewhere in the peloton. When we see colorful spandex-clad bikers winding their way up to Maroon Bells, Bob will be among them. When kids of all ages are coached through the slalom course at Buttermilk, it will be Sponge Bob out there skiing backwards, laughing and encouraging them. When the Lake Burton wooden boat parade begins each year, Bob will have completed his own boat restoration and will join the fun. When a local Episcopal Church needs help on the Vestry, Bob will be the chief greeter. When a friend is out of town and can’t attend Donut Day at the local school, Bob will put on his nattiest bow tie and get down on the floor with the toddlers.

When a dedicated woodcarver toils in his studio, smoking a joint and listening to Doyle Lawson or Bill Monroe, Bob will be right alongside, tapping his toes, puffing away and creating beauty.

So here’s to Bob, who lived and loved passionately while making it all seem effortless. A happy life-affirming man, who always arrived perfectly attired and well-equipped. (Some might say extravagantly equipped, Bob had some great toys – does one man truly need seven bicycles?) A thoughtful and generous man, who quietly anticipated the needs of countless others. A creative spirit who appreciated the finer details of every activity and every relationship.

We are thankful that our paths crossed with Bob’s. For each of the times we had together we always came away happier. Can there be a better gift?

Thanks, Bob, for being you.

Donations in Bob’s memory may be made to Aspen Elks Youth and Veterans Fund or your favorite charity.

A Celebration of Bob’s life is being planned for this summer.

Obituary: Joyce E Baker

Joyce E Baker

November 3, 1935 – January 24, 2021

Joyce Elaine Baker left this world on January 24, 2021. Joyce was born in November of 1935 in Presho, South Dakota, one of 5 children. She met her husband, Richard Baker, in Denver and they were married in March 1953. They moved to Basalt in 1968, where Joyce worked at various jobs in the Aspen area, including over twenty years at Aspen Valley Hospital. Her favorite job was being Grandma to her five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She enjoyed going with her family and friends to Reudi and Lake Powel, bowling and playing cards. Joyce and Richard left the valley in 1998 to retire to Bismarck, AR. After Richard’s passing in 2018, Joyce moved back to the valley, since she missed the mountains and her friends and family. She was preceded in death by her parents, one brother and her husband of 64 years. She will be greatly missed by her children – Jodi (Jeff), Steven, and Tommy (Becky); grandchildren – Thomas (Jenny), McCarra and Stevie Lee, Brad and Brian (Holly); great grandchildren – Elway and Iverson, Gavin and Aiden, and Carlie; sisters Beverly and Colleen, brother Bob and various nieces and nephews. If you would like to donate something in Joyce’s name, please do so at your local animal shelter.

Obituary: Ellen Kisker

Ellen Kisker

August 8, 1932 – February 4, 2021

Ellen H Kisker, age 88, died at Vi at Highlands Ranch CO on February 4, 2021.

Ellen was born in Ashville OH and lived in Cincinnati OH, Southgate KY, Evergreen CO, Cherry Creek CO and Highlands Ranch CO.

Survivors include children Elizabeth Moss of Granville OH and Stephen (and Nina) Kisker of Aspen CO, grandchildren Graham, Whitney, Willa and Colten. Ellen was preceded in death by husband of 54 years, George Whitney and son Mark.

She and Whit traveled worldwide for many years and had great memories. They certainly lived a very full and exciting life together. They will be missed dearly.

Ellen loved the town of Aspen CO and would have been thrilled with contributions to the Aspen Music Festival at aspenmusicfestival.com (recipient email moss.125@osu.edu).