Herron, witness to a changing Aspen, dies | AspenTimes.com

Herron, witness to a changing Aspen, dies

Steve Benson

Frances Herron, who witnessed Aspen’s transition from a sleepy mountain town in the quiet years to a bustling destination ski resort in the late 1940s and 1950s, died July 16 in California. She was 93.Herron was the daughter of former Midnight Mine owner and longtime mayor of Aspen Fred D. Willoughby. The Willoughby family was active in mining, and later played an integral role in turning Aspen into a ski area. Herron left Aspen and moved to California in the 1980s.”She was a very caring, outgoing person,” said longtime Aspen resident and friend Kurt Bresnitz. “She loved Aspen and lived most of her life here. She saw all the changes in what was going on until she left.”Herron worked for Pitkin County Bank, and played violin in the community orchestra for years. Her late husband, John Herron, led the community in saving the Aspen Music Festival in the early 1950s, when Walter Paepcke said he would no longer run it, said Mary Eshbaugh Hayes, author of “The Story of Aspen.””She was a true pioneer in Aspen, as was her husband,” Hayes said.An obituary prepared by her family said Herron died peacefully at home in her sleep, surrounded by loved ones.”I am sure that you, like everyone who has ever known Frances, will miss her sense of humor, kindness and cheerful outlook on life,” the obituary reads. “She certainly exemplified the old-fashioned definition of what it is to be a lady.”Herron requested to not have a service, and her family said if anyone wishes to do anything in her honor they should make a donation to her favorite organization, The American Red Cross.Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com

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