Phebe Cornell Maresi
July 7, 2006
Phebe Cornell Maresi, a longtime supporter of the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, died on June 30 at her house in Vero Beach, Fla., attended to by her children. Born in New York City in 1912, Phebe was a descendant of Thomas Cornell, an Englishman who sailed to America on the Mayflower in 1638 to escape religious persecution. Her father, Edward Cornell, was one of the first graduates of Cornell Law School and became a prominent New York attorney instrumental in the incorporation of IBM, serving as a director and lawyer for the corporation from its inception until his death. Her mother was Esther Haviland Cornell. Phebe was raised in a family of devout Quakers and educated at Institut Heubi Brillantmont in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Swarthmore College. A long, happy life followed, most of which she spent with her husband of nearly 60 years, Pompeo H. Maresi, at Villa Ronconi on the west shore of Lake Como, Italy. Phebe was devoted to him, her family and to behind-the-scenes support of many philanthropic causes inspired by their world travels.Phebe was a woman of enormous strength of character who acted on her convictions. She had a passion for gathering together the youth of many cultures, knowing this was essential to understanding, tolerance and ultimately, future generations of world peace. This led Phebe to become a driving force in the establishment of the United World Colleges. Phebe also believed in the power of the outdoors as a source of well-being, and throughout her life she actively encouraged children to pursue sports and education.After her husband’s death in 1991, Phebe spent much of her time each year in Aspen. The simple beauty of Aspen’s mountain environment touched her spirit and she spent many hours lovingly tending the gardens of the Aspen Historical Society. She supported AVSC, often through international exchanges for coach education.Phebe was warmly embraced by the Aspen community. Her family, apologizing for any omissions, extends special thanks to those who made her feel comfortable and at home: Greg and Marcia Abbott, Jules Augur, Robert and Gillian Baxter, Sally Cole, Johnny Harano, Paul MacCaskill, Laurie McBride, Art and Betty Pfister, Diane and Tony Rutgers, Hans Schwarz, Jay Webster, Karstin Wynn and relatives, and the Stainton families of Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Boulder.Phebe will be missed by many far and wide. One friend, upon hearing of her death, commented, “It’s the end of an era.” Phebe was preceded in death by her husband; her sister, Katherine Cornell Stainton; and her twin brothers, Julien and George D. Cornell. Surviving family members include twin sisters Beatrice Maresi (Aspen) and Alexia Maresi Haller (Ketchum, Idaho); sisters Cassandra Maresi (Florence, Italy) and Phebe Ann Béliard (St. Tropez, France and Miami), brother Henry J. Maresi (Vero Beach, Fla.); nine grandchildren – including Andrew and Fritz Ernemann (Aspen); and 10 great-grandchildren.A gathering in the Quaker spirit is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Aug. 12 at La Chiesa Anglicana di Cadenabbia, with a reception to follow at the Grand Hotel Victoria in Menaggio, Lake Como, Italy. A private burial will take place at the Cemetery of the Highlands in Highlands Mills, N.Y. The Maresi family of Aspen ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the scholarship fund at the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, P.O. Box C-3, Aspen, CO 81611.