‘Stogie’ Maddalone, an Aspen original, dies | AspenTimes.com

‘Stogie’ Maddalone, an Aspen original, dies

Naomi Havlen
Aspen firefighter Willard Clapper Jr. hands the American flag to Stogie's son, Tony Maddalone, at the Red Butte Cemetery. Tony's son, Thomas, looks on at right. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

One of Aspen’s longtime residents who was always around to put out a fire or fix a power outage died last week after a sudden heart attack.Thomas “Stogie” Maddalone lived almost his entire life in Aspen, working as a lineman for the local electrical system for years and fighting fires with the Aspen Fire Protection District. Maddalone lived in Grand Junction for the past 10 years, and would have been 81 the day after his death on July 14.Residents and members of the fire protection district gathered Tuesday for his funeral in Aspen. One of the district’s first firetrucks transported his casket from St. Mary’s Church to Red Butte Cemetery.”He was very personable – everybody that met him loved him, and he was always willing to help anybody anytime he could,” said Maddalone’s only son, Tony, of Carbondale. “It was always funny how the power would go out when we went to the Red Onion, and he would go out back and work on the power lines.”

Maddalone graduated from Aspen High School and worked for Mountain Utilities at the hydroelectric plant on Power Plant Road. He later fought in World War II with the U.S. Army in Italy. Tony said his father specialized in electronics on bomber planes during the war – particularly on B-24 Liberators.After the war he came back to Aspen and worked as a lineman with the local utilities company until he retired, helping hang Christmas lights and decorations on Aspen’s power poles every year. At the time, being part of the fire department was what local men did to be involved in their community, said Willard Clapper Jr., a nephew and fellow volunteer fire fighter of Maddalone.”It was what they all had in common – a sense of camaraderie, and a mutual goal or desire to help,” Clapper said. “This was before things like Aspen’s ballet, and you didn’t have to attend functions or give money – it was a very communal organization, and what they did was put out fires.”After the Aspen Fire Protection District formed in 1953, Maddalone was given badge No. 7.His parents, James and Ida Maddalone, moved to Aspen soon after he was born in 1923. James mined silver in many local mines, and the couple lived in a house that still stands near the Aspen post office on Puppy Smith Street, Clapper said.

Contrary to popular belief, Stogie’s nickname actually has nothing to do with cigars, Tony Maddalone said. His dad once worked at one of the local grocery stores and when the owner said, “Well, Tommy’s my stooge,” one day, he decided rather than being called a stooge he’d change his nickname to Stogie.It stuck – to the point that Father Michael O’Brien said no one knew who he was talking about when he told his congregation on Sunday that Thomas Maddalone had died.Maddalone was an “understated kind of jokester,” Clapper said. He had a great sense of humor and would punctuate what was going on with quiet but witty comments.All of Maddalone’s passions rubbed off on his son and grandsons. Tony remembers learning about firefighting at an early age – if he heard the fire alarm go off in the middle of the night he’d jump in the truck and head to the fire with his dad.Tony Maddalone followed in his dad’s footsteps, working with the city electrical department for 18 years. He is now the airside operations officer at Sardy Field and captain of aircraft rescue and fire. He’s also a Basalt volunteer firefighter.

Tony’s son, Thomas, 22, recently went to work as a lineman for Holy Cross Energy. He is also a training officer with the Burning Mountain Fire District, which includes Silt and New Castle. And son David, 19, is studying mechanics at Mesa State College in Grand Junction.”I looked up to Dad, and I had been on his coattails for years,” Tony said.Thomas “Stogie” John Maddalone was preceded in death by his first wife, Gwendolyn (Raider) Maddalone in 1993; his second wife, Ailene Grunberg, in 2000; and his daughter, Judith Ann Maddalone, in 1969. He is survived by his son, Anthony J. Maddalone, brother Jess Maddalone, sisters Angie Caperrella and Ida Shoumate, grandsons Ronald Flewelling, Thomas Maddalone and David Maddalone, and great-grandchildren Brett, Mathew and Nikki Flewelling. In addition to the fire department, he was a member of the Elks and Eagles clubs in Aspen and the American Legion.The family requests memorial donations be made to the Douglas Pumpelly Scholarship Fund, c/o the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department, 420 E. Hopkins, Aspen, CO 81611.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com

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