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Obituary: Betty Pynnonen

Betty Pynnonen

December 5, 1929 – June 23, 2020 In loving memory of Betty Jane Pynnonen who was born on December 5, 1929 to Clara Mae Cummings and John Clayton Mowery in Atlanta, MI. She died on June 23, 2020 in Carbondale, CO. In high school she attended nursing school while her husband went to MSU. They were married on September 3, 1951 and continued to live on campus. After graduation they moved to Shelby, MI and bought their first house. Later having two children Jere and Jil Pynnonen. In 1974 they decided to move to Aspen so the family could ski and Betty could take beach vacations. Betty was very active attending a variety of art classes at Anderson ranch and CMC. She was a member of the pardon my garden club and spent much of her time tending to her beautiful backyard garden. She loved to travel and spent a month or so every year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A kind and generous mother, grandmother and great grandmother. We will cherish all our many fond memories of Betty and will miss her always. She is survived by her daughter Jil Pynnonen, granddaughter Desiree Pimentel and great grandchildren Carter and Jordan Pimentel as well as many loving family members and friends.

Obituary: Richard Milburn Jennings

Richard Milburn Jennings November 7, 1927 ~ June 9, 2020

Dick passed away surrounded by his daughters Lynn Urban and Jan Jennings at his home in Indian Wells on June 9, 2020. He had survived for over two years with Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia and finally surrendered to the one battle he could not win.

Dick was born November 7, 1927 in Washington, D.C., the son of a US Army officer. Until age 14, he lived at various Army postings with his parents. He witnessed the battle of Pearl Harbor in 1941 as a 14-year-old “Army brat” at Hickam Field, the bomber base next to Pearl. After the attack, he was evacuated to California with his mother and sister on the first naval convoy. They settled in Palo Alto to await the return of his father from the Pacific war. At age 16, he attended Stanford University but, in the middle of his sophomore year, in June 1945, he enlisted in the Army Specialized Training Program, remaining as a cadet at Stanford for two more quarters. In January 1946, he went on to various postings with the Army at Fort Lewis, WA and Fort Benning, GA. He was slated to be an infantry combat platoon leader but noted that field artillery lieutenants, rather than walking, rode in jeeps and had a good song, and he was able to become a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery in June 1947. He volunteered for overseas duty, and in late 1947, he sailed to Europe and joined the First Infantry Division in the army of occupation of Germany. He served in an artillery unit for the next two and a half years as a platoon leader, often on maneuvers near the German/Czech border during the crises in Berlin. After various postings in Europe, he joined the Korean War. He was twice awarded the Bronze Star medal, once because his battery was judged the fastest shooting in the division. In the final months of the war, he was chosen as American Aide to the Chief of Staff, Republic of Korea Army General Paik and traveled with him throughout South Korea. After the war ended in 1953, he returned to Phoenix where he completed a BA Degree in Political Science at Arizona State University and then left again for Germany in 1956. In this second tour in Germany, he served in Augsburg, Wurzburg, and Stuttgart where he made up the nuclear fire plan for the VII Corps sector in Southern Germany. Afterwards, he was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma as an instructor of nuclear weapons’ employment and artillery tactics. Then, he was sent to the German Army General Staff College in Hamburg for its two-year General Staff course, one of only two Americans to be selected. During this course, he met and married Nini Bjonness of Oslo, Norway and had his first child, Lynn. Then he commanded the 9th Artillery in Kitzingen, Germany with a bunker full of live nuclear weapons. After this, he moved the family to Arlington, VA and served in the Pentagon on the US Army General Staff in Europe, Middle East, and Africa operations. He simultaneously completed an MA in Government at Georgetown, University. A second daughter, Stephanie, was born. Volunteering for Vietnam in 1968, he led a battalion and was awarded two more Bronze Stars, eight Air Medals, and the Legion of Merit. On a second tour in Vietnam, he led a brigade of 2,700 artillerymen, including a battalion floating on rafts in the Mekong River. After his five campaigns in Vietnam and a short Hawaii experience, he was named Assistant for NATO/Warsaw Pact Affairs to the US Secretary of Defense. He was sent to the Army War College in Carlisle, PA, where a third daughter (Jan) was born. Finishing this course and a Doctorate in Government at Georgetown, he became Professor of International Relations at the National War College (NWC). At the NWC from 1972-75, he was the most published author of the faculty and was awarded his second Legion of Merit decoration. However, he incurred the displeasure of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by publishing articles showing that Soviet forces were not as strong as heralded, over ten years before the establishment accepted this, and was given an early retirement. He retired on September 1, 1975 and moved to Aspen, CO. In Aspen, after several years as a ski instructor, he went into real estate development and became VP of Preferred Resorts International and then President of Western Resorts International, supervising development projects in Colorado and hotel projects in Arizona. He was an early developer of Dotsero and a partner of the development of Aspen Mountain View on Missouri Heights. On the civic side, he was President of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center and a National Council member for the Aspen Community Theater. He is remembered by his keen sense of humor and athleticism in particular, enjoying many charity events in Aspen. Retiring in 1999 in Indian Wells, he enjoyed his garden and tennis, and served, successively, as President of the local World Affairs Council, the Stanford Club, and the Military Officers Association. Dick is survived by the mother of his children Nini Bjonness of Oslo, Norway and his three daughters Lynn Urban (Mark Pfahl), Dakota Faith, and Jan Jennings (Michael Mount); grandson Christian Urban and granddaughter Sophia Jennings; his sister Nancy Walton, three nephews including Michael Walton, Rick Walton, and Steve Walton, and one niece, Ginny Smith; and his very dear companion Dawn Nordblum of Palm Desert. A Celebration of Life for Colonel Richard M. Jennings will be held at the Indian Wells Golf Club in the future, along with a burial in Aspen, Colorado at the Red Butte Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made either to the World Affairs Council of the Desert in Palm Desert or Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado.

Obituary: Kenneth Tutt

Dr. Kenneth J. Tutt February 16, 1949 – June 21, 2020

Dr. Kenneth J. Tutt passed away on June 21, 2020, in Glenwood Springs, CO, at the age of 71 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Born on February 16, 1949 in Queens, N.Y. and raised on Long Island, Ken’s heart belonged to Colorado. He often told the story of how heading to California over 40 years ago, he stopped in Colorado and never left.

Ken earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Northern Colorado and came to Aspen in 1975, where he began his career in psychology at the Aspen Mental Health Clinic, continuing with a private practice of clinical psychology. He also served as a consulting Psychologist with major national corporations including RCA and Chrysler.

Known for his sense of humor, he was a fine athlete; awarded basketball scholarships during his undergraduate career and remained active in a variety of sports throughout his life. Ken loved the mountains and the lifestyle that Colorado offered, cherishing his lasting friendships and the “Rocky Mountain Way.”

Ken is survived by his sister, and brother, five nieces and nephews, and eight grand nieces and nephews.

Ken will be memorialized in a private ceremony; a date to be determined.

Obituary: Leslie Kelly Thomas

Leslie Kelly Thomas 1962 – 2020

Leslie Kelly Thomas passed from this world, June 15, 2020 in Denver, Co. from the effects of rheumatoid arthritis. She has been a resident of the Snowmass-Basalt area for over 30 years. Leslie was born in 1962 in Augusta, Georgia. She lived for short periods in Seattle and Santa Fe, New Mexico while her father completed his medical service before moving to Forsyth, Georgia for 4 years. In 1969 the family moved to Panama Canal Zone where Leslie enjoyed her childhood and youth with her two sisters and many friends. As a young child Leslie loved animals and seemed to have an extraordinary ability to communicate with every animal she encountered. She loved to run and won first place in a distant runner competition. In Panama Leslie began horse riding competing in dressage and jumping, thus beginning her lifelong love for horses. She was an experienced scuba diver.

Leslie attended Emory University and the University of Georgia majoring in science.

She moved to Aspen in 1986 and married in 1988.

Leslie soon moved to Moon Run Ranch and participated in outfitting, taking visitors on horseback into the magnificent mountains surrounding Aspen. Her longtime friend shared “Leslie was a bold, brave and level-headed friend especially in times of crisis. When something went wrong, she would become silent, then assess the situations and react in a logical stalwart manner. I could always count on Leslie.”

In Snowmass she was an integral part of beginning the Wildcat Ranch development. She continued her horse riding and developed skills to train horses and teach others. In Basalt she and son, Tyre, participated and supported the Roaring Fork Hounds Pony Club. Leslie was the co-leader of the club for many years, teaching her son who attained the Level C-3 in show jumping. He is currently the only Colorado rider to attain that level.

While working at Aspen Skiing Co., she also was a member of the Roaring Fork Valley Horse Council to develop trails for horse riders. A Council member described her as a very intelligent, hardworking and competent woman who was quick to brainstorm a project and always sure to see it through to completion. Leslie cared deeply about the environment, and her work with the Roaring Fork Horse Council and the trail system will continue forward for all riders to enjoy.

Leslie’s final contribution was her desire to donate her cornea and skin tissue to help others.

Leslie is survived by her son, Tyre Thomas, mother, Carrietta Pepper, sisters Jenna Kelly and Carrill McKenzie, and nephew and niece Landon and Catherine McKenzie.

Leslie was a member of the Baha’i Faith. A graveside service will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday, June 19 at the Basalt Fairfield Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are being provided by Farnum Holt Funeral Home in Glenwood Springs.

Obituary: John Koch

John Koch September 2, 1944 – June 12, 2020

JOHN KOCH 1944 – 2020 John Koch died June 12 at his home in Aspen after a short illness. John was born September 2, 1944, in Madison, Wisconsin. When asked where he was from, John said, “the west”. He lived in Montana, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico and Colorado. He loved all the things the west had to offer, most especially hiking and skiing. He attended college in Fort Collins, Boulder and Albuquerque. While in New Mexico, he ski patrolled at Taos Ski Valley and helped construct the tram at Sandia Peak in Albuquerque.

John moved to Aspen in 1973 and worked at Snowmass as a Ski Patrolman and somehow acquired the nickname “Johnny Sawpit” often shortened to Sawpit or even Pit. He loved the Snowmass Ski Patrol and made lifelong friends there. John was an Aspen Volunteer firemen in the 1970’s and 80’s and relished driving the fire trucks.

John married Kathryn in 1978 and acquired a step daughter, Megan. John adored Megan and subsequently his step grandchildren, Henry, Amelia and Sam Twitchell. John was an ardent supporter of all sports that Henry, Sam and Amelia participated in and attended almost every Basalt Longhorn football game, including away games. I once asked Henry if he could hear John cheering and Henry said, “everyone can hear John”. John also attended plays and choir concerts of the Twitchells.

During the last twenty years of John’s life, he was proud to work on the Aspen Mountain lift maintenance crew. He found the mechanics of lift operation endlessly fascinating and would explain those mechanics in detail to anyone who might listen.

John will be missed by his family and friends for his quiet kindnesses, his inquisitive nature, and his joy at being with people he loved. He has gone to a place where ski boots don’t hurt. No service is planned at this time. Donations may be made in John’s memory to Mountain Rescue.

Obituary: Rebecca Sparks

Rebecca (Becky) Grafton Ward Sparks Dec 29, 1921 – May 19, 2020

Becky Sparks passed away on May 19, 2020 in Falmouth, Maine. She was born in Kyoto, Japan, December 29, 1921 to parents Eva and Homer Grafton, who were teachers with the YMCA. Her formative years were spent at her parents’ boys’ camp in Ontario in the summers, and a series of schools in the Midwest in the winters. She graduated from Bennington College where she majored in music, then attended Julliard School of Music after the war ended, where she met her first husband, Ken Ward. They moved to Chardon, Ohio where daughter Carol and son Craig were born.

In 1954 they moved to Colorado, settling in Aspen in 1955, where she taught piano. In 1968 after a divorce Becky moved to New England, taught physical education and music at Northfield/Mount Hermon schools, and then got an M.A. in early childhood education. She married John Sparks in 1972 and they spent 10 happy years together on a gentleman’s farm in Virginia and then moved to Stuart, Florida.

After Jack’s death in 1987, Becky moved to Snowmass Village to be near her son, Craig, and rekindled friendships with many Aspenites. She attended Aspen Music Festival concerts, Anderson Ranch art and photography classes, worked for Snow Cubs, volunteered for cross country ski races, was a member of PEO (an educational organization), played tennis at the Snowmass Club, downhill and cross country skied. Her artwork flourished during these years. She moved to Whitcomb Terrace in 2008 and made many friends with residents and staff. Often she would take seniors to the Maroon Bells to paint the landscapes. She snowshoed around Whitcomb Terrace into her mid-90’s.

Becky leaves behind her children, Craig Ward and Carol Ward, stepdaughters Tania Clark and Lana Leonard, their spouses, seven grandsons, and 9 great-grandchildren. Her life will be celebrated at a family gathering in Aspen/Snowmass later this summer.

Obituary: Chris Ellison

Chris “OKIE” Ellison

Christopher Scott Ellison (aka “OKIE”), 56, of Carbondale, CO formerly of McAlester, OK, died on May 17th, 2020 in Aspen, CO. He was buried near his hometown next to his very special friend, Charlotte Hyden.

“OKIE” had lived in the Aspen area since 1986; was born on July 28, 1963 in Dallas, and is survived by his mother, Amy; his father Gerald and his wife LeeAnn; his sister and brother-in-law Peggy and Mark Adams; and his faithful companion “BRICK” — a Jack Russell Terrier.

Okie loved the Colorado lifestyle including hiking with his lil’ dog Brick and he also enjoyed skiing and dirt-biking with his closest friends when he wasn’t doing ‘handyman work’ for many local Aspen homeowners. Chris had a degree from OSU Vocational-Technical School specializing in heat & air contracting but he was versatile in many other areas.

He will be greatly missed by his friends here in the Aspen area and the many people who he worked for over the years who were able to enjoy his company, kindness and friendship. The family has asked that in lieu of Flowers, to make a donation to the local Suicide Prevention organization at: www.ourhopecenter.org in the name of Chris “OKIE” Ellison.

Obituary: Robert Dowding

Robert Dowding November 14, 1939 ~ April 28, 2020

Robert William Dowding, a resident, lately of Maine, died April 28, 2020 due to lung disease. Private family services will be at a later date. Robert is survived by his daughters Joselyn Walsh and her husband Terry Walsh of Gardiner Maine; Leslie Sneddon and her husband Jeffrey Sneddon of Richmond, Maine; brother Chuck “Benny” Dowding and his wife Maxine of La Quinta, California; grandsons Gavin Walsh of La Quinta, California; Marston and Isaiah Sneddon of Richmond, Maine.

He was preceded in death by father William Henry Dowding, mother Doris Emma Dowding of Terra Bella, California; sisters Carol M. Goetting of Terra Bella, California, and Anita Bronson of Porterville, California.

Robert “Bob” was a native of Ontario, California and grew up in Orange County attending high school and marrying Nan Sullivan of Tustin, California. Robert moved his family to Redstone, Colorado in 1969 and was a food salesman for Westman Foods. He opened and developed one of Westman Foods best territories in the towns of Aspen and Glenwood Springs. Colorado is where Bob developed long term relationships with many people and expanded his outlook of the great outdoors. Bob skied, hiked, camped, hunted and lived life with gusto, and was known for giving great parties!

After Colorado, Bob moved to Costa Rica and became a coffee farmer. Moving once again, Bob opened a fish market in Croton-on- the- Hudson, New York. Competition in that industry drove him to become a gardener caretaker on an estate in Purchase, New York. After many years he returned to California to be closer to his aging Mom and settled in La Quinta, California where he started a pool company named Better Pools. He married Laurie Levish whom he met in Yonkers, New York, and step-fathered Brett and Ashley Newton, of La Quinta, California. After ten years he retired from the pool business, and passed the business on to his grandson, Gavin Walsh. Bob’s final move was to be closer to his daughters/grandsons in Maine. He was employed by L.L. Bean and really loved the folks he worked with.

Bob was an avid sports enthusiast, enjoyed attending jazz festivals, the beach, enjoyed good food and loved to cook for his family and friends. He was kind, generous, a hard worker and approached any problem in an intelligent manner. Bob had the ability to succeed in whatever endeavor he undertook, and his integrity was beyond reproach. He was the type of man with whom it is a pleasure to be associated.

Obituary: Glenn Carris

Glenn Carris October 6, 1950 – May 27, 2020

Glenn Carris passed away peacefully in his sleep with his loving wife of 34 years by his side following a 2-year battle with cancer. He was 69.

Glenn was born in Corning, New York, and grew up in the small town of Horseheads, where he still has many close friends.

In 1978, he, along with his friend Michael Sprague “Sprocket”, drove to Aspen to visit their good friend Buddy Peck and his wife Star, and like many others, decided to stay. Star got Glenn, along with his good pal Eddie Heppe “Slim”, his first job bartending at Chisholm’s Saloon. Other restaurant jobs would follow, including the Parlour Car, the Aspen Meadows, the Smuggler Land Office and Country Roads.

Glenn was a man of peace of the Woodstock generation. He had many amusing stories to tell of his experiences at the famous event. He loved the Grateful Dead and was often seen giving the peace sign to friends and co-workers.

In 1985, Glenn met the love of his life, best friend and soul mate, Sandie. They were married soon after in February of 1986. Glenn and Sandie enjoyed many wonderful adventures together. They travelled extensively and enjoyed camping trips, both often included playing at many new golf courses. Glenn also enjoyed skiing, biking and fishing, but golf was his passion.

Glenn worked for the Aspen Skiing Co. driving the Highlands-Buttermilk shuttle from 2008-2016, where he had many fun and interesting conversations with his riders, making new friends along the way.

However, by far his favorite job was with the Aspen Golf Course, where he was on the maintenance crew for 20 years. He always talked about what a great team they were and how they were like a family. Glenn was respected for his work ethic and took great pride in making the course an enjoyable experience for all golfers. He loved his job.

Glenn liked people and people liked Glenn. He always went out of his way to smile and say hello.

He will be remembered for his beautiful smile, his kindness, generosity and loyalty.

One of his favorite sayings was, “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time.” Now he is having a good time playing on heavenly golf courses with buddies Slim, Billie Bob and many others. Glenn leaves behind his wife, best friend and soul mate, Sandie, his loving stepdaughter Heather, his brother Michael Carris, sister-in-law Susan Lewis and many wonderful friends.

He will be greatly missed.

A celebration of his life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the cancer research of your choice.

Obituary: Philip R. Zanone

Philip Richard Zanone, Sr. June 5, 2020

Philip Richard Zanone, Sr., passed away peacefully on June 5, 2020. He is survived by his beloved wife of nine years, Pallas Pidgeon Zanone; his children: Mary Zanone Johnson (Neil), Philip Richard Zanone, Jr. (Morgan), Katie Zanone Webb (Chris); grandchildren: Shea Lynne Johnson, Catharine “Cate” Irwin Johnson, Philip Richard Zanone, III; John Greenway Zanone, William Henry Zanone; stepdaughter McLean McGown (David Brooks) and their children, Jemima Brooks and Goldy Brooks. He is also survived by his siblings, Maureen Zanone Buchman and Nell Zanone Stratton of Memphis, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, George Augustus “Gus” Zanone and Mae Riley Zanone; his first wife, Irwin Leatherman Zanone; and his brothers, Thomas Edward Zanone and George Augustus Zanone, Jr.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1941, Phil resided here all of his life, while maintaining his family’s longstanding ties to Horseshoe Lake, Arkansas. For the past 34 years, he was also a part-time resident of Aspen, Colorado. From an early age, Phil displayed an acumen for business and a strong entrepreneurial drive. After graduating from Christian Brothers High School, he attended Vanderbilt University and then returned to Memphis to begin a long and successful career. His numerous roles included: President of Mid-South Beverages and Midland Financial Group; Founder of Green River Properties; Founder of the 713 Hunting Club in Marianna, Arkansas; and Chairman of the Board of the Assisi Foundation of Memphis. In addition to is wide range of business accomplishments, Phil acted as a mentor to many in the Memphis community over the course of his life. An avid sportsman, Phil actively pursued his passions for snow skiing, cycling, and hunting. He will be remembered for his charismatic personality and deep loyalty to a large group of friends and family. Most importantly, he was firmly devoted to his family and stood as a respected role model for his children, grandchildren, and all those who knew him.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Church Health Center, 1350 Concourse Avenue, Suite 142, Memphis, Tennessee, 38104.