Henry Jessen Pedersen
July 21, 2010
Henry Jessen Pedersen passed peacefully on June 28, at age 87. He was born in Thisted, Denmark to Ejner Pedersen and Ane Marie Jessen on March 17, 1923.Henry came to the United States with the Danish Gymnastics Team after WWII. The team performed in 43 states, Canada, Cuba, Mexico and Europe. Returning to the U.S., he taught gymnastics while studying landscape architecture at Iowa State University.Upon completion, he moved to Denver and landscaped one of the nation’s first shopping centers, Cherry Creek. Early 1950, Henry came to Aspen to ski and there settled his own roots.Henry was the first landscape architect in Aspen. With permits from the Forest Service, he dug up aspens and wildflowers and planted them for property owners throughout town. These native transplants needed very little water; town was getting greener and more shaded and Henry’s business flourished. He served on the Pitkin County Planning Commission, The Parks Association and the Music Associates of Aspen. He volunteered for the Aspen Music Tent/campus and landscaped Paepcke, Rubey and Heron Parks. Henry proudly collaborated with Herbert Bayer in landscaping Aspen Meadows and The Aspen Institute. He taught gymnastics at Aspen High School and skiing at Highlands.While on the Pitkin County P&Z, he opposed strip malls at the entrance to Aspen and approved the development of Snowmass. Members of this P&Z were the pioneers of the tough approach to growth that Aspen benefits from today. He loved these mountains and believed that a balanced town meant that building and development needed to be in harmony with the land. Henry Pedersen exemplifies the kind of person that came to Aspen in the 1950s. He worked hard, played hard and gave his all to his adopted town.Henry retired in 1990 and spent his time traveling with his wife, Louise Frisby Pedersen. They lived in San Carlos, Mexico in the winter and Carbondale in the summers. Louise died from cancer in 2000.Henry is survived by his brother, Tage Pedersen; his children, Mia (Jason) Barnard and Jess (Nina) Pedersen. He is also survived by grandchildren Daisy and Pepper Barnard, and Olivia and Oskar Pedersen.In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that you plant a tree to spread his spirit…. and remember him as you drive around shady Aspen!A celebration of life will be held at the Aspen Chapel on Saturday Aug, 21 at 11 a.m.