Aspen Hall of Fame chooses four inductees for 2023 class | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen Hall of Fame chooses four inductees for 2023 class

Staff report
The Aspen Times
The Aspen Times

Four community members who have had a lasting impact on Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley have been chosen as 2023 inductees into the Aspen Hall of Fame. Tom and Jody Cardamone, Georgia Hanson, and the late Walt Smith will be inducted and honored at the annual Aspen Hall of Fame banquet on April 15, 2023, at the Hotel Jerome.  

“This year’s inductees have educated us, entertained us, and charmed us over the years, and they exemplify what the Aspen Hall of Fame is all about,” said a statement from Hall of Fame Co-Presidents Madeleine Osberger and Kim DeCarlo. “The community has benefited from their passion for the local environment, for embracing and promoting its rich mining, ranching, and skiing history, and for entertaining us through the decades.”

Tom and Jody Cardamone

In 1975, Elizabeth Paepcke hired Jody Caudill, an Aspen native and naturalist, to run the environmental education center she created at her Hallam Lake sanctuary.



Tom joined later that year, and, for over four decades, the couple juggled executive roles in the organization. Sharing a love of nature and teaching others about the environment and driven by the ACES mission of “educating for environmental responsibility,” Tom and Jody built a nationally-recognized environmental center that today reaches over 140,000 people a year.

Daily programs in schools throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, community classes, programs in the field for all ages, guided hikes — these activities and others have left an indelible mark, according to the Hall of Fame. With additional campuses beyond Aspen at Rock Bottom Ranch and the Catto Center at Toklat, ACES is going strong thanks to the vision, leadership, and hard work of Tom and Jody.




Their support of environmental causes wasn’t limited to ACES. Tom has served on numerous boards, including Pitkin County Open Spaces and Trails, Pitkin County Wildlife Task Force, Pitkin County Park Association, and the Ice Age Discovery Tusk Force. 

Tom and Jody Cardamone Photo: Michele Cardamone

Georgia Hanson

An advocate for preserving Aspen’s history, a volunteer for dozens of Aspen’s boards and causes, a fundraiser and event manager, Georgia left her mark all over Aspen during her 50-year tenure in town.

In 2002, she joined what was then a struggling Aspen Historical Society and helped create a new board that led a successful fund-raising campaign. Under her leadership, a property-taxing district was approved by voters that has sustained the museum and its operations ever since. The Aspen Historical Society might not be where it is today without her leadership, according the the Hall of Fame.

The same can be said for the World Cup races in Aspen, for which she volunteered and garnered dozens of other volunteers; the present-day Aspen Highlands, which she helped Hines Resorts win approval for as community liaison; and the community of Woody Creek, for which she developed a master plan.

Georgia Hanson. Photograph: Andy Hanson

Walt Smith

For half a century, Walt Smith kept the beat going in Aspen. Playing jazz piano at such fixtures as The Red Onion, The Golden Horn, The Hotel Jerome, The Tippler, The Copper Kettle, and the Freddie Fisher room at Aspen Highlands, he inspired a generation of locals and visitors to jive to jazz, get out on the dance floor, and have a good time.

Walt grew up in Denver, studying classical piano as a child. In 1954, he moved to Aspen. Before long, he had established himself as the premier jazz pianist in the valley. For those lucky enough to live in Aspen in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s during Walt’s heyday, his music became their soundtrack.

He passed away in 2018 at the age of 91, continuing to play for audiences right up to the end.

Walt Smith. Photograph: Leslie Smith

Aspen Hall of Fame

Since its founding in 1986-87, the Aspen Hall of Fame has honored more than 100 members for their contributions — economically, physically, spiritually, ethically, and intellectually — to the Aspen/Snowmass communities. For more information and to see a list of past inductees, visit http://www.aspenhalloffame.org.

Invitations to the 2023 Aspen Hall of Fame banquet will be mailed in early March. 

The Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization dependent upon donations that help subsidize the annual banquet and inductee videos. Contributions may be made at http://www.aspenhalloffame.org. Questions? Email info@aspenhalloffame.org

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