The wisdom of Eve
July 29, 2009
One person can indeed make a huge difference, and Eve Homeyer, a former Aspen mayor who died July 19, was a shining example.
Homeyer served two terms as mayor in the early 1970s, but dedicated thousands of hours of her time during subsequent years to efforts that changed Aspen for the better. By taking stands and thinking creatively, often ahead of her time, Homeyer helped shape both Aspen’s landscape and its character. Various elements of local life, both physical and cultural, still bear Homeyer’s fingerprints, even though they’ve since become institutions of their own.
The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, Aspen Valley Hospital, the Rubey Park bus station, Whitcomb Terrace assisted living facility, the Aspen municipal golf course and even the downtown malls – Homeyer had a hand in all of these things. Huge pieces of Aspen’s “built environment” can be attributed, at least in part, to Homeyer’s belief in things like public transit, open space, the environment and quality medical care.
Beyond those physical objects, however, Homeyer helped embed values in Aspen’s collective consciousness – equal opportunities for women, a clean environment and fast, frequent public transportation. As Aspen’s first female mayor, Homeyer arguably helped pave the way for numerous women who have served the town since. And her well-known 1969 campaign vow to never own a car again still resonates through Aspen’s worthy attempts to put people and the environment before automobiles and asphalt.
Volunteer work and community activism was more important to Eve Homeyer than fancy parties and material things. She was a tough, determined politician, but she never let her passion turn into nastiness or personal attacks. She played fair and lived simply, and these qualities gave her force as an activist and advocate.
Aspen owes a lot to Eve Homeyer. Her honest and direct style, along with her sense of humor, seem all the more remarkable in a time when bluster and bombast are more in fashion. And her simple lifestyle appears remarkably wise today, when the entire country is locked in a recession borne of greed and excess.
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We’ll miss her.