Linda Ann ‘Mille’ Wilkie
Aspen CO, Colorado
Linda Ann “Mille” Wilkie, whose warmth, kindness and generosity were matched only by her propensity for love and friendship, passed away Monday, Jan. 19, 2009 at Aspen Valley Hospital. She was 60 years old.
Born Linda Ann Millsom on April 19, 1948, in East Grand Rapids, Mich., she earned a teaching degree from Michigan State University, and taught first grade briefly before following her dreams for a life less ordinary. She seized an opportunity to move to New York, where as a stewardess she flew countless trans-Atlantic flights and explored life abroad.
Mille was never satisfied when stationary, and Colorado was one place she had dreamed of but never seen. When she tired of air travel, she packed her bags for Denver.
In 1973 she and her good friend from Michigan, Billy Spade, made the long road trip to Aspen with no jobs and little money. When Mille saw the snow-draped mountains for the first time, it was love at first sight. She worked as a breakfast waitress at the old Andre’s and, with her dazzling smile and gregarious disposition, amassed a group of friends equally free spirited.
In 1974 Mille met her future husband, a young carpenter named Jack. They lived in Old Snowmass, across the road from where they later built their dream home and launched a new career and life together. In 1977 they were married, and spent their free time skiing, hiking, running and exploring the backcountry on their horses. After their son arrived they traveled, boated and water-skied.
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Mille often said she was born to be a mommy and her son Cody came in 1982. In 1985, juggling motherhood and career, she returned to school, this time in Grand Junction for her esthetician’s license. In 1986 she began A Touch of Aesthetics. Eight years later she was forced to retire for health reasons.
Following a severe skiing accident, Mille had to subdue her active lifestyle, and although not externally obvious, her health slowly deteriorated. Yet she continued to devote her love and energy to her husband and son, and to the exploration of spirituality and metaphysics in spite of increasing pain from various head, neck and back injuries.
For only the third time in her life, Mille found yet another love … the Islands of Aloha. In 2002 she led Jack back to the Island of Maui where she then began to find better health, hope and happiness for winter’s refuge in the waves and sun. Maui became life for them both over the last six years. Now a spiritual being, she is free to swim with the whales and dolphins and dance in the light upon the waves. Our Menehuni, free at last.
Mille was an inspiring figure, and a brilliant star whose absence will make the nighttime sky that much darker. She is survived by her husband Jack; son Cody; golden retriever Hunter; her mother, Jane Millsom; sister Christy Neadeau, who resides in Michigan, and several nieces and nephews.
A celebration of her life will take place in the spring. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Linda’s memory to the International Campaign for Tibet. Online: Visit http://www.savetibet.org and click on the “Donate Now” link at the right of the page. Please note, for online donations, you MUST also send an e-mail to Chris Chaleunrath at email@example.com. Subject should read, “Donation for Linda Wilkie.” Alternatively: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of a standard donation form in PDF format.
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