Remembering Jony Larrowe, a long-time Roaring Fork Valley local
The sun filtered through the window of Jony Larrowe’s bedroom in her El Jebel residence when she passed away Wednesday. She was 96 years old.
She had lived in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1950. In her time here, she made many friends who became like family, started a family of her own, and helped contribute to fabric of Aspen’s culture. She was an artist, writer, mother, friend, and mountain woman.
“She was able to speak to most all of her friends and let them know how much she loved them and hear how much they loved her, so there was really nothing left unsaid,” said Greg Poschman, Jony’s son, who serves on the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners.
Jony, like many of us, was drawn to the adventurous mountain life. In her early years, she and her family moved to Denver from her home state of Pennsylvania, catalyzing her life-long love for the outdoors. Her parents were highly-educated immigrants from Switzerland, who were loving yet strict.
“They (Jony’s parents) were intellectuals and highly-educated and kind of the strict-disciplinarian type. She told me about how she had to teach herself how to smile while looking in the mirror.” said Poschman.
“She was determined to be happy and make the most out of life, so that’s what she did.”
When Jony was just 16, she began working at a ski shop in Denver. On the weekends, she would take a train to Winter Park, using her lunch money to buy a day ski pass. She became an expert powder skier who took her time when skiing down a pass, reveling in the beauty of the mountains.
“She was a fantastic powder skier,” said her son. “She was never a racer. She was never in a hurry to go anywhere.”
In addition to her love for skiing, she had climbed 22 of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks by the mid-1940s.
In 1950, Jony moved to Aspen with her husband, Harry Poschman — a 10th Mountain Division ski trooper during World War II. They were part of the first movement of skiers who came to Aspen to embrace the “ski bum” lifestyle, according to Greg Poschman.
Together, Jony and Harry ran a bed-and-breakfast for skiers called the Edelweiss Inn. Harry continued ski instructing and took on work digging potatoes in Woody Creek.
Jony’s father — a mining engineer, inventor, and patent attorney — helped design Aspen’s first chairlift; Harry helped build it.
She told The Aspen Times in 2010: “I can remember when we first moved to Aspen in 1950, and I had my little 4-month-old baby in my arms. I’m standing on Main Street, and we had just put up the sign for the Edelweiss Inn. Looking down Main Street, there’s not a car. It’s a September morning. Blue smoke coming from all the little shacks.
“I said, ‘This is where I live, this is where I die.’ I remember saying that to myself. I really meant it,” she said.
In the late 1950s, she purchased a Jeep and drove it through Colorado’s high country searching for old mining camps and fields of wildflowers. As a photographer and writer, she captured the essence of Colorado life along her journey. Her work was published in The Aspen Times and Aspen Illustrated News.
“Her love of nature was was something that I think was really remarkable,” said Greg Poschman. “She was not a wealthy person, and she was not particularly interested in money. But she’s still lived a rich life despite that.”
In 1971, she wrote an Aspen-inspired cookbook, “Aspen Fare,” featuring recipes published by local residents in Aspen newspapers, paired with her illustations and stories.
Jony was also prolific artist who authored books of poetry and short stories. She hand painted cards and crocheted hundreds of afghans blankets. She was inspired by poet Mary Oliver, who captured the beauty of the outdoors with her words.
In 1974, Jony got remarried to Peter Larrowe, a World War II veteran and former Trappist monk who had helped build the Snowmass Monastery. They lived in Snowmass Village for a few years before retiring in El Jebel in 1993.
Jony is survived by her sons Greg and Hap Poschman and her daughter Christie Interlante.
According to Greg, Jony spent her last days telling the people in her life she loved them.
“What better way to go than to make sure everybody knows that you care for them and you love them,” he said. “I think they all felt really appreciated, and she would extend that to our our whole community because she had such a reverence for this valley, the geography, and the nature as well as the inhabitants.”
To reach Kristen Mohammadi, call 304-650-2404 or email email@example.com.
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