July 22, 2009
Eve Homeyer, the first woman to serve as the mayor of Aspen, passed away at her home on Cemetery Lane on Sunday, July 19, 2009, at the age of 93.
Born in South Platte, Neb., Eve graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in astronomy. Eve and her husband, Harry Homeyer, moved to Deckers, and owned and operated a guest ranch, where she cooked and entertained for as many as 100 guests at a time. Shortly after Harry passed away in 1959, Eve moved to Aspen and opened a store, the House of Ireland. Never one to just run a business, Eve was also active in politics as vice-chair of the state Republican Party. When she decided to run for mayor, her platform included “an end to pollution of all kinds” and “preserving green areas.”
She walked her environmental talk – literally. While campaigning for mayor, Eve gave up her car and vowed to never own a polluting vehicle again. She walked and rode the bus everywhere for the rest of her life. She was a longtime board member of the Roaring Fork Transit Agency and knew the operations of the system from the inside out. She helped negotiate the purchase of Rubey Park, now the hub of downtown Aspen’s public transportation. Eve’s Way, a street on the north side of Rubey Park, was named in her honor on her 90th birthday.
Eve was in the eye of the storm during her 1969 run for mayor of Aspen. Aspen was transitioning from a small-market ski town to a destination resort when she was pitted against Joe Edwards, a young attorney newly arrived to Aspen, who was Hunter S. Thompson’s hand-picked candidate for his Freak Power party. Eve looked back over the years on that election and in her usual even-tempered, good-humored way observed that, “My only sins were that I was 55, a woman, a Republican and I had worked for Nixon. Hanging was too good.” Eve defeated Edwards in a close election and served two terms as mayor. Highlights during her terms included the acquisition of Rubey Park, the golf course property, 80 acres of land owned by the Thomas family, establishment of the downtown mall areas and the passage of a transit tax to pay for free buses.
A longtime Republican, Eve became disenchanted with the GOP and eventually switched her affiliation to the Democratic Party while in her 70s, as it was more closely aligned with the women’s movement and environmental policies. Eve was appointed by Gov. John A. Love in 1973 to serve on the Colorado Commission on the Status of Women.
Throughout her later years, Eve was a strong supporter of female candidates for elected office and gave lectures on the topic.
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Eve served as the first executive director of the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation when the foundation was formed in 1973. She was instrumental in raising funds to build the new Aspen Valley Hospital and also spearheaded efforts to build Castle Creek Terrace, an assisted living facility on the hospital campus, which is now named for the late Dr. Harold Whitcomb. She later formed Senior’s Independent, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides funding for the Pitkin County Senior Center, which is adjacent to Whitcomb Terrace. She officially retired from the AVMF at the age of 91 and lived the last few years quietly in her duplex on Cemetery Lane next to the Red Butte Cemetery, where Eve said “I have the best neighbors – they are all very quiet.”
“Eve was one of the most dynamic women to grace our community,” said Kris Marsh, president and CEO of the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation. “She was a strong, clear, tough voice on community issues. Eve provided a unique style of leadership in a town of independent folks. She was the real deal and her legacy will live on forever.”
She was a true community activist who supported nonprofit organizations and served on many boards during her long career. Eve was very generous in serving or contributing to nearly every nonprofit in town. Her favorite, though, was the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation. Please make donations in Eve’s honor to the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation, PO Box 1639, Aspen, CO 81612, or to a nonprofit organization of your choice. A memorial service will be held in August.