Hall of Fame, a slice of real Aspen, to honor latest inductees Saturday
Saturday evening, a sold-out crowd of 275 will gather at The Hotel Jerome to honor the Aspen Hall of Fame 2023 inductees: Tom and Jody Cardamone, Georgia Herrick Hanson, and the late Walt Smith.
“This is a community event that brings the real community of Aspen together in a time when people need it,” said Aspen Hall of Fame Co-President Kim DeCarlo. “The town’s changing. It’s great we can together with the locals.”
The Aspen Hall of Fame was established in 1986-87 to recognize and honor individuals who have had a significant and lasting impact on the Aspen/Snowmass communities economically, physically, spiritually, ethically, or intellectually. Nominees must have demonstrated inspirational leadership and have made major contributions to cultural, sports, and/or civic activities.
This year’s banquet, the culmination of a year’s work for the non-profit, honors the inductees with a film about his or her contributions — this being a legacy for the community.
Honorees are chosen from nominations submitted by the public and a 14-member board of directors, all volunteer-driven, makes the selection. Throughout the 37-year-history of the organization, 123 individuals, plus four “pioneers,” have been inducted into the Aspen Hall of Fame.
Co-President Madeleine Osberger said, “The board narrows it down to two or three rounds of voting. Then we have a pretty rigorous discussion about the nominee attributes.”
“We also take in account how many times people have been nominated,” added DeCarlo.
Georgia Herrick Hanson
Hanson is a strong advocate for preserving Aspen’s history and has volunteered for dozens of Aspen’s boards and causes. A fundraiser and event manager par excellence, she left her mark all over Aspen during her 50-year tenure in town.
She helped her late husband revive Aspen’s famed Brand Building and championed the building’s thriving businesses of that era. Her ability to engage the community was honed in 1990 when George Stranahan asked her to help develop the Woody Creek Master Plan.
Widowed in 1987, alcoholism was a theme in her marriage, and she would later give back to Aspen’s first substance abuse and rehab facilities by volunteering for The Right Door, the Chemical Dependency Task Force, and YouthZone.
Tom and Jody Caudill Cardamone
Tom Cardamone and Jody Caudill Cardamone both have a lifelong passion for exploring and learning about the natural world. The duo attended universities on the East Coast but found their way back to Aspen, Caudill’s hometown.
In 1975, Elizabeth Paepcke asked Caudill to run the environmental education center she created at her Hallam Lake sanctuary. Cardamone joined later that year, and for over four decades the couple juggled executive roles in the organization.
Their support of environmental causes wasn’t limited to ACES. Cardamone has served on numerous boards, including Pitkin County Open Space & Trails, Ice Age Discovery Tusk Force, Aspen Valley Land Trust, Watershed Biodiversity Initiative, and Roaring Fork Safe Passages.
Caudill is a second-generation Aspen Hall of Famer. Her parents Sam, an architect who designed many of Aspen’s important buildings, and Joy, an environmentalist, were inducted into the Aspen Hall of Fame in 1998.
For half a century, Walt Smith kept the beat going in Aspen. Playing jazz piano at such fixtures as The Red Onion, The Golden Horn, The Hotel Jerome, The Tippler, The Copper Kettle, and the Freddie Fisher room at Aspen Highlands, Smith inspired a generation of locals and visitors alike to jive to jazz, get out on the dance floor and have a good time.
Smith recorded several CDs over the years of his original music including a song he co-wrote with his daughter Leslie called “Love is All There Is.” A CD compilation of Walt’s favorite original songs, including some from the play Ari, will be released in the Spring of 2023. The CD is entitled “The Last Dance.”
Smith performed until nearly the day he died in 2018 at the age of 91.
Next Hall of Famers
“We are actively trying to bring in younger people to this organization, both for the board and honorees. We are a community organization and want to represent all facets of the community,” said DeCarlo.
Maybe you can join the ranks of Aspenites such as Bob Beattie, Klaus Obermeyer, Mary Eshbaugh Hayes (former beloved Aspen Times editor), Dick Durrance and George Stranahan who have all been inducted into the Aspen Hall of Fame.
If interested in nominating someone for the Aspen Hall of Fame, visit aspenhalloffame.org for the form, which can be submitted on rolling basis throughout the year.
The annual banquet, held at historic Hotel Jerome most years, includes the first viewing of the videos for each inductee and then remarks from honorees able able to be present.
This year’s master of ceremony is R.J. Gallagher.
“This is the real Aspen,” said Osberger. “These are the people who make the community run.”