Aspen remembers Eve Homeyer’s legacy
August 22, 2009
ASPEN – Independent, strong-willed, dedicated and a tireless community activist – Eve Homeyer was remembered Friday by colleagues and friends for a civic legacy that few can match.
The first woman to serve as Aspen’s mayor, Homeyer’s community involvement stretched well beyond her three years in office in the early 1970s, and those who knew her well praised her accomplishments during a memorial service on the grounds of Aspen Valley Hospital – a facility she counted among her causes.
Homeyer, who died last month, a week shy of her 94th birthday, was an impeccably dressed, perfectly coifed force to be reckoned with.
As mayor, she was an advocate of parks and open space, and the golf course was among the city’s acquisitions under her leadership.
Later, as the first director of the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation, it was Homeyer who drove the fundraising that allowed the construction of the present-day hospital, recalled former AVH administrator Glenn Scott.
“She drilled deep for the dollars and she struck paydirt,” he said.
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Homeyer would continue to lead the foundation for a time, and took a job as the hospital’s director of communications.
She also spearheaded the efforts that led to programs for senior citizens and the eventual construction of an assisted living facility and senior center for Pitkin County residents.
Homeyer was, however, perhaps best known as a staunch supporter of mass transit. She gave up car ownership to fulfill a mayoral campaign promise and spent close to 40 years – the rest of her life – getting around on foot and via the bus system she helped build and oversee as a longtime member of what was then known as the Roaring Fork Transit Agency board of directors.
“Eve was green before green was cool,” said RFTA CEO Dan Blankenship. “Her carbon footprint was about as big as the petite high heels she wore.”
She had a strong will, tempered by a keen wit, Blankenship said. Many enjoyed her wry sense of humor.
“We usually tippled a little Scotch, but the last time we were together, she offered me a sip of Ensure,” Scott recalled with a grin.
Helen Klanderud, a former county commissioner and later, Aspen’s third female mayor, remembered when the county tapped Homeyer to help secure voter support for a bond issue to build a new county jail. The county celebrated completion of the new facility with a party, Jailhouse Rock, which disgusted Homeyer. Yet years later, Klanderud said, Homeyer proposed a party bus to run the route between Aspen and Snowmass Village.
“Eve’s commitment was to the community and she was a doer, not a talker,” Klanderud said. “She left a marvelous legacy for all of us.”