Experienced Aspen: Flying through life
Nancy Bosshard’s time in Air Force has kept her grounded through tough times
Editor’s note: This feature is one in a series we call “Experienced Aspen,” a special section recognizing the life and experiences of Aspen’s most well-rounded citizens. For more, go to the B-Section of our Dec. 22 electronic edition.
Nancy Bosshard considers herself one of California’s original hippies, so it should come as no surprise that she gravitated toward Aspen’s unique approach to life.
She first came to the Roaring Fork Valley in 1969 and made the move permanent a handful of years later and never once thought about leaving over the decades since.
“I was only going to come for the winter. You know how that goes,” said Bosshard, who became an avid skier. “My brother said I had to run away. That’s why I came to Aspen. But it did appeal to me. I loved the mountains. I like the cold.”
Bosshard was the black sheep of the family and never took to many traditional norms, such as marriage or having children. In 1984, she built a home in the valley and opened her own business, A to Z Business Services, and long was a legal advocate for Response, a local organization that helps survivors of domestic violence. A sociology major in college, Bosshard eventually used one of her minors, business administration, on her primary career path.
“I had a real good feel for office work. I specialized in sociology and marriage counseling. And to be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t like what I saw. Back then women were barefoot and pregnant,” Bosshard said. “Back then, at least in California, in order to be hired by a reputable marriage counseling organization, you had to be happily married. Now how in the heck do they know if you are happily married or not? I was not willing to do that.”
Bosshard, who is currently in her “mid-70s” but didn’t want to offer a specific age based on her religious beliefs, has a strong connection with the military and helped create Veterans Memorial Park in Aspen. She has long taken part in its twice-a-year ceremonies.
Her military connection comes from having briefly served during the Vietnam War when she helped shuttle personnel back and forth across the Pacific Ocean. That job came about through her work with Continental Airlines, which was brought into the fold to help provide MAC flights — or Military Airlift Command — and the U.S. government thought it best to give those workers officer status.
“It’s a very special place,” Bosshard said of the Veterans Park she helped create in Aspen. “I took many a troop over to the war. We were second lieutenants in the Air Force, which was the lowest rank in the Air Force.”
Bosshard currently lives in the Whitcomb Terrace assisted living apartments, where she is the youngest current resident. Here are some other notable comments she had on life here in Aspen:
Aspen Times: What drew you to Aspen in the first place?
Nancy Bosshard: “It was just the lifestyle in general. I had been active in the free speech movement when I was in college and I came from a very conservative family, Republican all the way. And I was learning a lot in college about Vietnam and what a rotten deal that was. And my professors, I believed them and I would go home for the holidays and try to talk to my family about it. Oh no, they’d have none of that.”
AT: What has it been like for you since the start of the pandemic? Has it impacted you much inside Whitcomb Terrace?
NB: “Not really. I have lived alone all my life. They clamped down on us on the early side, which was a good thing because we never had the virus. Never had any issues with that. Everyone has been healthy. Because you hear these horror stories about senior facilities and what they found of course is it’s the staff that brings it in.”
AT: Have you been able to stay busy?
NB: “I’ve got lots to do. I have 16 file cabinets of files that I moved. I have a storage unit. And I’m still going through all that. I’ve got more than I can handle, if you ask me. I’d like a secretary.”
AT: Do you have any advice for others navigating the pandemic?
NB: “I’m a believer in the Lord and I think God has a plan. I’ve been suspicious from the beginning that until everybody has been exposed and either does or does not get the virus, we will have to contend with it.”
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