Fifth-generation local Megan Emma Ziegler was born March 1, 2005, to proud parents Jonathan Harley and Chris Ziegler.Megan can trace her roots back to a mining family, the Strongs, who settled Aspen in the late 19th century. Her great-great-grandfather John Henry Strong was born in Aspen in April 1896 and married another Aspen native, Emma Louise Luther. Their many children included Emma Lou Strong, born in 1935, who married Elbert Tacker, whose family had settled in Carbondale. Emma Lou’s brother Bud, Megan’s great-uncle, is still alive.
Tammy Lou Tacker, Megan’s grandmother, was born in October 1958; she and her husband, Bill Ziegler, whose parents ran the W/J Ranch, lived in Woody Creek. Their son Jonathan Harley Ziegler married Chris and the couple have settled in Carbondale, where the bulk of the Strongs still live, to raise Megan.The Strong family, who have all since moved downvalley from Aspen, hold a family reunion once a year. Megan will be “presented” at the next reunion, probably in June.
Gerda Mankus recently celebrated her 100th birthday at the Crystal Meadows senior housing complex in Carbondale. Gerda moved to the valley when she was in her 90s. She lives on her own and takes care of herself, enjoying cooking and dancing, says her daughter Kate Mahoney of Basalt. “Her mind is totally there although her body is falling apart; she’s a survivor!” says Kate.Gerda was born in Hudiksvall, Sweden, in 1905, the oldest of nine children (and the only one still alive). Her family emigrated to far northe rn Minnesota to homestead in 1913. Gerda met her future husband, Tony Mankus, in a cow pasture there when she was 8 and told her mother that day that she was going to marry him.The couple moved to Chicago in 1942, where she lived for 50 years – her husband passed away in 1967. Their daughter Kate moved to the Roaring Fork Valley when she was in her early 20s, and Gerda visited frequently. She eventually moved here to be with Kate, and Kate’s daughter Sage, and because of the superior care she had received locally after breaking her hip in 1998.Gerda moved out on her own a short time later – “She’s always been so independent, she wanted her own space,” says Kate. She has four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
Not too many families can boast of having four generations on one hill, but Snowmass Village residents Gary and Anita Rosenau can. On a recent sunny March day, Gary, 83, was joined by his daughter, Gail Scott, 58; grandson Chris Scott, 35; and great-grandson Tommy Scott, 3 1/2.”It’s the first time we’ve had all four generations skiing together,” said Gary. “I got them all started when they were 3, and my mom got me skiing when I was 6.The Rosenaus first came to Aspen to ski in 1960; they moved to Snowmass Village full-time in 1975, and their family has been visiting ever since. According to Anita, fourth-generation schusser Tommy is “really into skiing, he was very excited that day” when he participated in a Big Burn Bears race on Fanny Hill.
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