December 30, 2010
Peter Greene, an Aspen icon and modern pioneer, passed away in Denver on Dec. 27, surrounded by his loving family. He had been injured in a ski accident on Aspen Mountain on Dec. 26 and was flown to Denver for treatment. Peter was a fun-loving, jovial, bongo-playing prankster who never met a person who didn’t become his friend. He will be missed by every friend who ever met him.Peter was born John Peter Lewis Charles Grunberg on May 15, 1933 in Amsterdam, to Emil Grunberg and Helen Margaret Stiefel. His parents met in New York City and were living in Holland. Shortly after his birth, the family immigrated to the United States in October 1934 and changed their last name to Greene. Peter grew up in New York City and Connecticut while his father worked as a stockbroker and partner of H. Hentz & Co.Peter moved west in 1952 and discovered Colorado in 1956 when he was a soldier who taught skiing and climbing in the U.S. Army’s Mountain and Cold Weather Training Command located at Camp Hale. The Command was the continuation of the famous 10th Mountain Division. Like many of the Camp Hale soldiers before him, he discovered Aspen in 1956 and, in 1958, he became the maitre ‘d at The Red Onion, spending his days as a ski instructor for the Stein Eriksen Ski School at the Highlands.In 1961, he met and married MaryAnn Cummings, who remained at his side for nearly 50 years. That same year, Peter and MaryAnn bought and operated the Golden Horn restaurant/nightclub until they sold it in ’63. The following year he and his good friend, Tommy Fleck, built and opened a restaurant in Scottsdale called The Cork ‘N Cleaver. Over the next 11 years, they expanded their successful chain to 70 restaurants nationwide. The chain was sold in 1975 to the Chart House, Inc. In ’79 he opened a commercial building in Boulder that also housed his Pedro Verdes (Peter Greenes) Mexican restaurant. He expanded that chain to three restaurants before he sold it to Garcia’s of Scottsdale.Peter became a bar/restaurant consultant for the Squaw Valley Ski Area in northern California, expanding and upgrading its facilities. In 1980, he and MaryAnn were the co-founders with Bonnie Brucker of Bonnie’s Restaurant in Tourtellote Park on Aspen Mountain. For the next 17 years, Bonnie’s was not only famous in Aspen, but was often called the “best on-mountain restaurant in the country.” While Bonnie’s was booming away, Peter found the time to be a managing partner for a small residential development in Carbondale called Los Adobes, which led to an ongoing career in real estate. In 1988, he opened Peter Greene and Associates, a boutique realty company in the Roaring Fork Valley. In 1993, he joined Mason and Morse Real Estate and was involved in land sales leading to The Residences at The Little Nell and the to-be-developed properties near Lift 1A for the Centurion Partners.Peter was a pilot, car racer, bicyclist and expert skier who loved life in the fast lane. He died loving what he was doing…skiing Aspen Mountain.He leaves behind those who loved him dearly – his wife, MaryAnn; their two children, Jon-Eric and Katy; daughter-in-law Amanda; son-in-law Mark Williams; grandson Chase Williams; and granddaughters Kyra Williams, Liza Greene, Nicole Greene and Katy Greene.A memorial celebration will be on Jan. 15; the time and location are to be announced.