Seigle remembered for enthusiasm, decency
People have a lot to say about Jon Seigle.His wife. His daughters. His brother. His friends. His business partners. His ski buddies. Everybody has a lot to say, and all of it’s good.Several hundred admirers of Seigle packed the Aspen District Theatre on Monday to listen for two hours as family and friends recounted Jon’s contributions to their lives. He died Feb. 27 in an avalanche in France at the age of 57.
Jon spent more than 30 years in Aspen, working as a waiter, a lawyer, a businessman and a real estate developer. He was a member of the Aspen School District Board for 15 years. But as family, friends and business partners took the stage, it became clear that the most important roles Jon played were that of husband, father and friend.”Jon was a caretaker – he took care of everybody around him. He was there for his friends, which is why his friends are here for me now,” said Liz Stewart, Jon’s wife since 1980. She was clearly struck by how Jon’s and her friends had rallied to protect and care for the family since his death.Liz said Jon loved her so intensely that, “I was blinded by the light of his love.””My dad was my favorite person in the entire world to ski with,” said daughter Missy. “I learned how much he added to the spirit of the town simply by saying ‘Hello.'”Daughter Grace recalled how her father couldn’t wait for the lifts to open every year. He became so excited, he’d start skinning up Buttermilk as early as possible to get a few runs in ahead of the season opener.
“My dad went to every game, home or away, my sister and I ever played,” Grace also recounted.Jon’s brother Marc told how the pair got the (self-anoited) nickname “The Stupid Brothers” on a bike ride through a blinding blizzard in upstate New York.Speaker after speaker commented on Jon’s loyalty, honesty, open-mindedness, work ethic, and, most of all, his decency. He was the kind of guy who, as the owner of convenience stores in Basalt and Carbondale, could get excited about coffee and hot dogs, even though he didn’t drink coffee and he didn’t eat hot dogs.Tom Isaac, the Pitkin County assessor and a longtime friend of Jon’s who has been paralyzed from the neck down for more than two decades, told how Jon would spend at least an hour with him every Tuesday night helping with his physical therapy, telling jokes and talking.Mike Flynn, a former Aspen High teacher, has been a friend of Jon’s since they, along with Isaac and several others in the audience, attended Union College together in the 1960s. He said Jon had been teaching him how to be a “decent citizen” for as long as they had known each other.
“You left before you dragged me, kicking and screaming, into being a decent person,” Flynn said. “I’ll take one more step in the right direction because of you.”The memorial ended with a prayer led by Gideon Kaufman from the Aspen Jewish Congregation and a slide show recounting Jon’s life. After two hours, most in the audience were still there. “There are so many layers of loving arms around me that they almost take the place of having Jon’s loving arms around me,” Liz said. “Almost, but not quite.”Allyn Harvey’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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