Cathie Langford was a ray of sunshine in the downtown core for the past 13 years, working for the City’s Parks Department. All the regular downtown folks, and even some returning visitors, knew Cathie with her long strawberry blonde hair, always on the move. She was unmistakable in her Captain America uniform, which she wore every Fourth of July. A longtime friend of Cathie described her as someone “with a bop in her step.”
She was born in Airdrie, Scotland, and was raised in a children’s home in nearby Coatbridge, Scotland until she was 19 years old. She trained as a dental assistant before moving to the USA with an American family as their au-pair in 1975. She worked in that role for various families in the Eastern US. She heard about Aspen from one of her families, and she came out and visited. She was smitten by the energy and beauty of our mountain ski town, and decided to make Aspen her home in 1981.
Many will recall her love of dancing and being on stage, as she appeared in various Aspen Community Theater productions, including GUYS AND DOLLS and ANNIE, during the 80’s and 90’s. She visited Russia in the late 20th Century to visit the Bolshoi Ballet, a life-long dream to see performances by that fabled dance troupe. Others will remember seeing her whiz by downtown astride her jazzy scooter.
She always loved dogs, though she never had her own dog, and has walked, run and sat with hundreds of dogs for people all over town. She had a special way of connecting with dogs, and they loved and trusted her in return. One can see this in the attached photo.
She also worked at various restaurants and grocery stores all over town, including the Explore Bistro, where she became close with Katharine Thalberg and Bill Stirling. Cathie was a favorite with all their dogs, and Katharine and Bill kept a watchful and loving eye peeled for Cathie over those ensuing 30 years.
She succumbed to breast cancer and other cancers, which had spread throughout her body. She greatly appreciated the care givers at the Aspen Valley Hospital, and in her last days her room was jammed with colleagues, work mates and friends. She was a brave and generous soul, who donated her body to scientific research. She also chose to die in her own way, by refusing any “heroic” methods to prolong her life. She was philosophical about accepting the end of her life. “It is getting down to the nitty,” as she would say in those final days.
There will be a gathering for friends, colleagues and acquaintances at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 27, 2018 at her beloved John Denver Sanctuary in Rio Grande Park to remember Cathie.
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