Obituary: Mariann S. Altfeld

Mariann S. Altfeld

January 1, 1933 – September 8, 2021

Mariann S. Altfeld was born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 1, 1933. She departed this life on September 8, 2021 in her beloved Aspen, Colorado at 88 years of age.

Mariann attended local Baltimore schools, always excelling academically. She developed an early interest in piano and became an accomplished classical pianist studying for years at the prestigious Peabody Institute. Three days a week she walked from her home in the suburbs to downtown Baltimore and back for her piano studies at Peabody, a distance of twelve miles round trip. She graduated from Goucher College as a music major. She had a second major in Physics, an interest that she continued to pursue throughout her life.

Mariann met her future husband, Phil in 1948 when she was fifteen years old and he sixteen. Thus began a love affair that continued in steadfast devotion, commitment and love for 73 years. When Phil entered law school, Mariann became an elementary school teacher saving every penny of her salary to pay for his tuition.

As her children, Bess and David became independent teenagers, Mariann enrolled at Loyola College where she earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education. Upon completion, she volunteered her time everyday for many years at The Johns Hopkins Hospital helping children with hearing and speech challenges and learning disabilities.

When her son David completed graduate school in Real Estate and Urban Development, the family formed a real estate company specializing in the development of residential land, shopping centers and suburban office buildings. Mariann was an invaluable member of the team leading all marketing and sales programs, appraisal valuations, brokerage, architecture and design. She took real estate appraisal courses in Chicago to enhance her financial underwriting capabilities. Under her husband’s leadership, Mariann and David designed and built a number of commercial buildings and shopping centers.

In the early 1970’s, on a romantic getaway summer vacation with her husband, Mariann fell head over heels in love with Aspen. They continued to vacation in Aspen every winter and summer for the next 10 years until they decided to move there permanently. The first phone call she made upon her arrival was to the Aspen Music Festival asking if she could volunteer her services. Mariann’s relationship with the Music Festival lasted nearly 35 years serving as its Volunteer Coordinator and she conducted weekly tours of Harris Hall and the Music Tent. Upon her retirement, she was honored by the Music Festival and the City of Aspen for her many years of dedicated service.

Mariann brought her artistic talents to the theatrical venues of Aspen including The Wheeler Opera House where she, her husband and another close friend produced and performed comedic shows for many of their friends. Mariann was “mistress” of make-up, set design, costumes and props, always supporting the hilarious antics of her partner in crime—Phil.

They laughed their way through life, bonded by humor and wit. She was the shining star in her family’s life.

When she wasn’t carrying on with her husband or participating in the Aspen Music Festival or enjoying lectures offered by the Aspen Ideas Festival or attending the annual Physics Lecture Series or reading, you could find her casting her fly fishing line deep in the rivers up and down the valley or hiking some of the iconic trails in and around Aspen. She adored the outdoors, the woods and just being in nature’s arms.

Mariann was one of the most kindest, sweetest and loving person one could ever meet. Her smile could melt steel. She found goodness in every person she met. Her soft voice was soothing and comforting to everyone in her company. She showed grace, humility and elegance without ever having the need to attract attention to herself. Mariann’s family was always her first priority and primary focus. Her children and husband cherished her and she cherished them. Her love affair with her husband was the envy of many. They traveled the world together often with Bess, David and granddaughter Peri. There was nothing Mariann loved more than spending her days with her family. Her love for them knew no limits.

Her husband repeatedly said throughout his life that he was one of the luckiest men on the planet to have Mariann by his side. They were together for almost their entire lives and were married for nearly 68 blessed years. Mariann took pride in the accomplishments of her children who credit their mother with their personal achievements and successes.

Mariann’s life was rich and varied. She was blessed with exceptional talent, intelligence, beauty, exuding warmth and kindness to all. She sadly leaves behind her beloved husband Philip, her daughter Bess, Bess’s husband Peter, granddaughter Peri Taubman, her son David, his wife Shawna and stepson Koa, Brother in law Dr. David A. Altfeld. Mariann’s father and mother Harry and Anna Shevitz and her brother Melvin all predeceased her.

Memorial Services will be held on Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 12:00 P.M. at the Red Butte Cemetery (off Cemetery Lane).

In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Aspen Music Festival in honor of Mariann S. Altfeld.