Obituary: Gerhard Mayritsch
March 16, 1942 – August 8, 2022
Longtime Aspenite Gerhard Mayritsch passed away peacefully after a battle with cancer, on August 8, 2022, surrounded by his loving family.
Gerhard was born in Villach, Austria on March 16, 1942. In 1956, at the young age of 14, he started a chef apprenticeship in Klagenfurt, Austria. After completing the program, he followed his dream to see the world, working as a chef on a passenger ship that circumnavigated the globe. After three trips around the world, Gerhard returned to Austria to become a successful head chef at a large hotel in Katchberg, Austria at age 21.
Gerhard’s thirst for global adventure continued throughout his life. In 1964 his childhood friend, Helmut Schloffer, convinced him to move to Aspen to work at Guido’s Swiss Inn. When Gerhard arrived in Aspen with only $300 in his pocket, Swiss Inn owner Guido Meyer was on vacation, so Gerhard took a job at the Red Onion instead. At the Onion, he joined Helmut and several chefs who, like Gerhard, would later become local restaurant icons throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.
Helmut and Gerhard soon branched off independently to begin their own catering business based out of the Aspen Elks Lodge. Retired Detroit Lyons football player and international businessman George Christensen discovered their talents and work ethic, supporting them to open a restaurant – the Wienerstube – in 1965.
During this period, Gerhard met his future wife, Elsbeth Scherrer, who had moved to Aspen from Rueti, Switzerland in 1964. They married in 1967, started a family, and in 1971 built a house in which they lived together for 50 years. They enjoyed a loving partnership until she passed away on May 22, 2021.
Gerhard and Helmut ran the Wienerstube together for 27 years, serving countless delicious meals to thousands of guests. This success eventually enabled them to invest in Aspen’s commercial real estate, with the purchase of the historic “Floradora Building” on main street, and the foundation of Carinthia Corp.
After Helmut’s tragic death in 1992, Gerhard ran the businesses independently until his retirement in 2000. By that time, the Wienerstube, with its beloved “Stammtisch” joiners table, European pastries and famous eggs benedict, had long become an Aspen institution, frequented by locals and tourists alike. Gerhard was beloved by his employees and tenants, with whom he maintained close relationships until his death. He was viewed as a patient, kind, fair, and giving employer, landlord and friend.
In his “retirement,” Gerhard continued to oversee operations of Carinthia Corp, worked as an ambassador on Aspen Mountain, served on the Aspen Hall of Fame Committee, and volunteered regularly with the Elks Club, including at annual Disabled American Veterans events. He also volunteered on a weekly basis at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and at their annual community St. Patrick’s Day Dinner, making his famous mashed potatoes and gravy.
Gerhard excelled at many hobbies. He was a hunter, stained glass artist, wood worker, and general tinkerer. He loved to hike, ski and camp and enjoyed relaxing with family and friends on Lake Powell, in Cabo San Lucas and in Europe. He also enjoyed preparing sumptuous meals for his family and friends.
Gerhard is survived by his daughters, Barbara Farley (Conor) and Evelyne McCleland (Mark); his grandchildren Aidan and Oliver Farley and Natalie McCleland; and his brother Manfred.
A funeral mass for Gerhard will be held on August 20th, at 10am at St. Mary Catholic Church, 533 E Main Street, Aspen CO. A Celebration of Life is planned for later this fall. Donations can be made on his behalf to the Aspen Elks Veterans Services Committee or to the Aspen Animal Shelter.
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