Aspen gathers to honor Caudill |

Aspen gathers to honor Caudill

Sam Caudill

ASPEN A lone bagpiper stood out in a meadow Sunday afternoon, amid yellow dandelions and the backdrop of Pyramid Peak, in honor of Sam Caudill, Aspen’s mountain man.Caudill died May 13 at the age of 84. Aspen celebrated him Sunday as a character, talented architect and champion of wild places. “Sam was a big man; he filled the room with his presence,” said longtime Woody Creek resident George Stranahan. “It was fun and often funny to be with Sam. … Sam was, of course, the big hearty guy, the guy with the big heart.”Stranahan spoke to a crowd that included many other Aspen characters under a tent in Deane’s Meadow at the T-Lazy 7 Ranch. Many family members and friends spoke of Caudill’s deep love of the outdoors.”[Sam] was firmly in the pocket of wild places and wild critters,” said John Seidel. “Sam loved the high lonesome.”As part of the memorial, John Sommers played a few songs with the Heart of the Rockies band. A few people recalled how Caudill used to love to sing, and the last song, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” turned into a chorus. At the end of the service, as the bagpiper played “Amazing Grace,” a light rain fell in the sunlight. As he walked through the tent, and family members followed him back out to the field, the rain slowed. Soon, all in attendance walked out to join a widening circle as the dark clouds held off and the sunlight came through. The bagpiper finished, with a giant circle holding hands around him in a field of dandelions. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address

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