Remembering Puppy |

Remembering Puppy

Dear Editor:I was dismayed to arrive home from work on Monday evening and learn that Puppy Smith had passed away and that his memorial service had already taken place. I had the honor of being Puppy’s “boss” for a few years in the 1980s, when I was the public works director for Aspen. Boss is a loose term, in that Puppy was a streets superintendent of long experience and knowledge in our mountain town, and I was conscious of being a relatively punk kid (worse, a college boy from back East) who had only been in town about 10 years at that point.All of the things said about Puppy in Tuesday’s cover story are quite true. He was a man of amazing patience, who never said an unkind word about anyone that I recall, even those that richly deserved it. I was often the conduit of directives to Puppy from City Hall, some of which were innovative and some of which were downright inane.Puppy never refused to try something, even when he well knew it had been tried before or that it probably wouldn’t work. He never told me I was an idiot and, perhaps more importantly, he never told City Council they were idiots. Not even in private, not even in jest. He was content to let us all learn through experience.Puppy had enormous respect from his employees, co-workers and “bosses.” He managed that with a quiet and pleasant demeanor that just made you want to do right by him. I also know for a fact that there are many mountain towns in the Rockies that now use street maintenance methods, such as winter-season street cleaning, that were pioneered on Puppy’s watch, when the EPA was focused on PM-10 issues.Thanks, Puppy, for all you did and, most importantly, for what you taught us about how to treat people.Jay HammondGlenwood Springs