Transitions: Claire Newkam

Aspen entrepreneur Claire Newkam died April 25 after a long bout with cancer. Born May 20, 1925, she would have been 78 years old on her birthday this year.Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Newkam graduated from Tenefly High School in 1943, attended the School of Fashion in New York City and graduated from T. Neck Junior College with an associate degree. She went to live in New York City where she had a job as a buyer for Lord & Taylor.She then pursued the stock exchange and worked as a runner, one of the first women to work in that position.Then she was hired as a recreation director on a two-year contract with the U.S. Army, but war broke out in Korea and changed her duties to reopening one of the clubs for the soldiers.After the Korean War she went to Europe, where she met her husband. Returning to the U.S., they settled in Jefferson City, Mo., where they ran a vending machine corporation and started their family.Claire Newkam first came to Aspen to ski in 1950, and in 1962 the family moved into the little pink house on the corner of Hopkins and Aspen streets, across from Paepcke Park.In 1969 Claire Newkam started one of Aspen’s oldest shops, Attic Fantasies, in the Pomegranate Inn. In 1976 she moved it to the North of Nell Building. The shop is now run by her three sons.She is survived by sons James, Scott and Pat, and will be remembered as one of the true female retail pioneers of Aspen.