Aspen, CO, Colorado
Morton Gurrentz passed peacefully on Oct. 30 at his home in Churchill. He is preceded by his wife, Susan, of 57 years who passed last November. Mort lived life with full regard to its good blessings and took advantage of every opportunity to enjoy every last minute.
He was the son of Harry and Fay Gurrentz, husband of Susan, father of Rodger, Tom and Patrick (their wives are Joan, Pam and Lynn), brother of Carol (Bing) Olbum. He was the grandfather of Amy, Tess (Dennis), Ryan, Ben, Samantha, Jessica and Jack. He showed each of them how to enjoy life and experience all its wonders.
Morty’s father (Harry) started a meat supply company in 1937. Morty and his brother-in- law joined Harry in the 1950s and together grew this small, local company into an international beef importing and distribution company that is now in its 75th year of operation and is run by the third generation. He was instrumental in creating the imported beef industry in the U.S. and commensurately with financing many of today’s beef exporters in various parts of the world. The hard earned lessons he learned through business were passed onto to his associates and family. His company was nicknamed “Gurrentz University” in the beef industry.
Morty was an avid pilot who got his first license at age 19 in Miami, Fla. He accumulated more than 6,500 hours in many aircraft – his last being a Cessna Conquest jet prop. He, along with his wife, children and grandchildren, flew to destinations such as western Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, New York City and many other locales in-between. He was always looking for an excuse to fly his plane with anyone who would join. He was an ardent traveler and adventurer beginning with his honeymoon to Europe in 1954. Mort along with his wife traveled to Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Central and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe many times.
He loved nature, hiking, skiing and touring. One of his greatest passions was backcountry deep-powder skiing. He amassed millions of vertical feet helicopter skiing in the Canada Rockies, being one of the first to do so in the mid-1960s. He skied in all of the great areas of the U.S. and Europe for almost 60 years. Displeased with the lack of commercial backcountry powder skiing companies in Aspen, he and his good friend Tom Cleary started Deep Powder Inc. in Aspen in the late 1960s. This operation remains until today; now owned by the Aspen Skiing Corp. In the late 1970s, he started spending more and more time in his beloved Aspen, Colo., finally building a house and moving there permanently in the mid 1980s. There, he would ski 100 days each winter and spring with his good friends and family. During summers and fall, he would hike, bike or golf each and every day. Whether he was skiing each day in the winter or golfing in the summer, he was active each day of his life.
He was an avid stock market investor who beat the market through diligent research, study and instinct. He constantly sought out investment advisers from whom he could learn – one of his requirements for an adviser was that he/she had to be older and richer than he! He was truly a student of the market.
He was generous to a fault with those he cared for and imbued in them and many others a deep sense of purpose of life for which he will be remembered and revered. Morty Gurrentz was the embodiment of the saying – work hard and play harder.
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A recent economic impact study on the arts and culture industry in Pitkin County shows that it brought over $450 million to the community in jobs and spending in 2019. What does that mean for the post-pandemic world?