Obituary: Donald G Swales
February 26, 1927 – February 5, 2021
Donald G Swales passed away peacefully at his home in Ohio on February 5th after a yearlong battle with cancer. Don was born in New York City on February 26, 1927, grew up in Columbus, Ohio and is a graduate of the Ohio State University. Don will be best remembered in Ohio as the founder of The Varsity Club (bar and restaurant) in 1959, which still stands today. In 1956, Don and his wife Suzie discovered Colorado on a trip west, and subsequently moved the family to Aspen in 1964. Don will be best remembered in Aspen as the founder of The Pub, modeled after The Varsity Club in Ohio, the Wheeler Opera House movie theater, and followed by the Playhouse Theater in 1969, along with the Crossroads Theater in Vail and the Summit Theater in Breckenridge. Long time locals in Aspen will fondly remember his monthly, theme oriented pornos at the Wheeler and the Playhouse. Don was also the president of the Wheeler Film Society. Don and Suzie lived in Aspen for 35 years before relocating back to Ohio in 1999. Don was an avid and lifelong fan of OSU athletics, and happily watched the Buckeyes win a basketball game the evening before he passed away in his sleep. Don is survived by his wife Suzanne, daughter Kim (Tarver) and son Kevin, and preceded in death by daughter Kelly. Donations in Don’s memory can be made to the American Cancer Society.