Obituary: Frank Bering Jr.
May 6, 1936 – July 11, 2022
He was born on the 6th of May 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Frank West Bering (1877-1965) and Mabel Mehaffie (aka) Joan Winters (1907-1990). He grew up with his beloved sister Nancy Ann in the historic downtown Chicago hotels managed and owned by his father (the Ambassador West, East, and Sherman House). He attended Choate Rosemary Hall, CT and Cornell University, NY.
After college he went to Fort Lauderdale, FL where he became a scuba diving guide. He served in the Air National Guard in Denver, CO and then moved to Aspen and opened the Cloud 9 Restaurant in 1962 at the top of the Highlands Ski Area where he met and fell in love with his wife Gretchen Wardwell Swan. Frank served on the ski patrol in the winters and enjoyed hiking and mountain climbing in the summers. After moving off the mountain he opened the Paragon Restaurant and Bar in downtown Aspen in 1966 with Bruce Lefavor. Frank and Gretchen built a new home and started a family in the valley of Little Woody Creek where they developed lifelong friendships. Frank loved running rivers with family and friends down the Yampa, Green, San Juan, and Colorado Rivers.
In 1973 he moved to Grand Junction, CO to open The Winery restaurant and in 1982 he built GB Gladstones. His life’s work centered on serving others and making sure they were happy. His own happiness could best be seen while serving “apps” on Friday afternoons on the patio of Gladstones. Frank served on the boards of the Grand Junction Symphony, United Way and the Visitor and Convention Bureau as well as the Canyonlands Field Institute and the State Board of Colorado Travel and Tourism Authority. He served a term as the Director of the Colorado Restaurant Association, and he was inducted into the Colorado Restaurant Hall of Fame in 1995.
Frank’s love of the mountains continued with several trips to the Himalayas in Nepal. He also enjoyed sea kayaking and spending time on the water with friends in the San Juan Islands, the Sea of Cortez, and San Carlos where he took on the nickname “Paco”.
Frank is survived by his wife Gretchen Swan Bering, his two children Joan Harvey and Vitus Bering, and his four grandchildren Nathaniel Bering, Elizabeth Bering, Fletcher Kennedy, and Grace Kennedy.
Contributions in honor of Frank may be made to the following:
Living Rivers PO Box 466, Moab, UT 84532 (LivingRivers.org)
Compassion & Choices 101 SW Madison St. #8009, Portland, OR 97207 (compassionandchoices.org)
As we celebrate his life, let us go forward remembering his mantra “Happiness is the Meaning of Life”