Gary Albert |

Gary Albert

Gary Albert: The facts, just the facts.

Born in Brooklyn New York April 27, 1944 to Harry and Evelyn Albert and sister Michelle. He attended Brooklyn College, Queens College and NYU, after which he became a 5th grade teacher in the rough and tumble ghetto of Brooklyn. He kept students in line with creative approaches that won their respect. The “thumb-screw” tamed the toughest kid in class. The “canine-phobic” student adjusted his attitude after his “time out” in the back of Gary’s station wagon with his very affectionate Irish setter. Gary was not very PC, but he was “The Big A” instead of Mr. Albert. Luckily, the statute of limitations has expired.

Dear Gary,

We are really going to miss you and your stories. Before we first moved to Aspen in 1971, you called the Brooklyn Zoo first to make sure there were no poisonous snakes at high altitudes. That same year, my family planned a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. You and I were engaged and we decided to meet my family in Las Vegas and get married before the trip. You didn’t want to join us, so I went with them and you went back to Aspen (snakes again). You were always on “snake alert” while traveling in Asia on business. Once, upon arrival in Singapore, you saw a huge snake on the side of the hotel, jumped back in the cab to the airport, and left the country. When you started mountain biking and all your friends wanted you to go to Moab with them, you declined for years because, you guessed it…snakes. Then when you did go, your friends put a rubber snake in your luggage…after all, that’s what friends are for.

You cherished the family vacations. Hawaii was your favorite. Jordan and Jason were your pride and joy. They are so sad to lose you so soon. Jason said he hadn’t learned enough from you yet, and that he still wanted more time together. Jordan commented that for him, it’s not about saying goodbye, it’s about finding ways of maintaining his relationship with you even though you are physically gone. Friends, you had so many. Bike friends, breakfast friends, Words With Friends, coffee shop friends, old friends, BS friends, new friends and young friends. There was a special place in your heart for your “kid friends” – ours and theirs – you loved them all. You bought video games so our friends would bring their kids over to play. So many kids, some barely walking and some grown with children of their own, all will dearly miss you. Everyone wanted to be your BFF, you just left the “biosphere” too soon.

You were the epitome of “entrepreneur.” When we first came to Aspen we bought leather in Denver. I remember drawing on the end of a hide, dreaming up designs which soon became your first business venture. There was Strawberry Enterprises, Billboard Belts, HMSS Ltd, Butterfly Originals, Panosh Place and numerous others. You traveled around the world creating thousands of children’s toys and gifts. You feigned “vegetarianism” to politely decline frightening unfamiliar foods especially in the Orient (“salmon cooked through” was unheard of in Hong Kong).

You bought your first Trek in 1986 and biking became your newest passion. We rode together for a few years, until you left me in the dust, literally. You graduated from road biking to mountain biking and then set your sights on the “Leadville Trail 100”. Each year the goal was to better your time, even if it was a few minutes. Leadville became your summer focus. As if that were not enough, you also competed in the “24 hours of Moab” race where you were the first solo rider over the age of 60. And then there were the socks…what started as a spoof became a tradition. The possession of “GMAN” socks is a symbol of status and friendship. You always told me if you died in a bike accident it would be your exit of choice. When you made a remarkable recovery from your bike accident in September, we thought you were home free. You just had the timetable wrong.

Those of us still here; your wife Kathleen, your sons Jordan and Jason, your mother Evelyn, sister Michelle and brother-in-law Ruben, their children Danielle and Justin and their families, your sister-in-law Colleen, and brother-in-law Jim, and all your many friends can’t believe we are saying this to you, but here it is….

Goodbye Gary. We will always remember your energetic, generous, and loving nature. You’re leaving HUGE bike shoes to fill.

An official memorial service will be held later this summer – date TBA.

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