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The influence of Paepcke

The other night I was at one of my favorite restaurants, when one of the waitresses came over to me to tell me how much she enjoyed the current holiday issue of Aspen Magazine, especially the diverse stories on women that ranged from philanthropists to prominent local professional women to the young dancers of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, as well as a profile on local athlete/hero Gretchen Bleiler.

Which gives rise to my question: As a woman, writer and local business owner who has worked here for almost 20 years, I have to wonder what has possessed Dick Butera to wrap himself in the mantle of Elizabeth Paepcke?

She was one of a kind, and I don’t know of anyone presumptuous enough to say they were assuming her mantle. But even if none of us will ever measure up to her great vision, accomplishments or, in some cases, wealth, many were deeply influenced by her great example, including myself.



She was the inspiration behind the magazine my late husband Randy Beier and I created, with the support of diverse members of this town. Without the cultural and community institutions she and her husband Walter established, Aspen wouldn’t be the town it is today.

Her example certainly influenced my current involvements, such as sitting on the board of the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation and the Aspen Art Museum, as well as supporting as many nonprofits as possible in the pages of Aspen Magazine over the years. In each of our six issues a year we celebrate the great diversity of women ” and men ” in our town and valley.




As a magazine committed to community-based journalism, we choose the holiday issue to highlight and support philanthropy, including an in-depth report on the Aspen Community Foundation. So, yes, Dick, it’s really terrific how much you love all the women of Aspen; thanks so much for taking the time to confirm something that I recognize every day ” that Aspen is filled with extraordinary women.

While the philanthropists in our photo shoot are glamorous, more importantly each is making significant contributions to the nonprofits in our community, a tradition started by the Paepckes.

Think about it next time you need the emergency room at the Aspen Valley Hospital, attend a concert at the music tent, an exhibit at the Aspen Art Museum, or a performance of the ballet, or wonder just who all are supporting the grants made to education and other social organizations.

What I love about my Aspen is the wonderful way that women and men, full-time and part-time residents work together to make our community so wonderful. Happy New Year to everyone.

Janet O’Grady

Editor in chief

Aspen Magazine


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