Another one of our elder citizens has just departed this life. Following a happy, festive 100th birthday celebration in January 2006, Jack Holst remained with us – always entertained by his books and classical music – until he passed away Oct. 25.
Born in Stavanger, Norway, he learned to fly in the Norwegian Royal Air Force in 1925 and emigrated to the United States in 1928. He was very soon on his way to a long career in aviation, stretching from New York to Wichita, Oakland, Chicago, Costa Rica and Denver, when he retired as captain on United Airlines in 1961, having flown 32,000 hours.During World War II, through a lend-lease program between the government and commercial airlines, Jack and other UAL pilots flew in the Air Transport Command for the Pacific operations.
Aspen had become a favorite destination and became his home in 1953, when he taught skiing and gliding in his spare time. He operated Aspen Travel Service and became an agent for Pan Abode log homes in the late ’50s for many years. Retirement allowed him to return to his favorite recreational pursuits – hunting, fishing and tennis, and he really enjoyed volunteering for the BOLD program, holding clinics and instructing blind skiers.On the journey past this earthly life, Jack leaves Shirley, his wife of 32 and a half years; a son, Leslie, and his wife, Ellen, of Aspen; a daughter, Karen, of Key West, Fla.; five grandchildren in Texas, Florida and Alabama; and five great-grandchildren, plus nieces and nephews in Norway.
Mostly wheelchair-bound for the past five years, he truly appreciated visits from neighbors, close friends and relatives. He loved to take daily drives throughout this valley and, along with Shirley, managed to attend 27 concerts of the most recent Aspen Music Festival season – celebrating and closing in on an adventurous and rewarding life of 101 years and nine months.There was a memorial service Friday, Nov. 2, at Messiah Lutheran Church, followed by an hors d’oeuvre buffet to celebrate Jack’s life.
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Three longtime residents of the lower Roaring Fork Valley talk about the sinking feeling that built Monday and Tuesday as the Grizzly Creek Fire grew. They are hoping the threat to their neighborhoods has passed.