Obituary: Ryan Steven Welgos
November 30, 1977 – August 31, 2023
Ryan Welgos, an Aspen native son, completed his journey on earth on August 31 and surrendered his spirit to the freedom from a life-long addiction. Ryan was born and raised in Aspen, CO and continued to live in the valley his whole life. He was the first born to Tony and Kathy, his devoted parents, and was then joined by four siblings—Andy, Elliot (preceded in death), Mark, and Jacqueline. Together the family unit enjoyed the Aspen lifestyle of mountain sports and all its offerings of recreation.
Ryan attended Aspen Country Day School until 9th grade, then went on to graduate from Aspen High School in 1996. He participated in Aspen Jr. Hockey, Aspen Jr. Golf, and the Soccer Club. He was a natural born athlete, but did not have the nature of a fierce competitor. He was drawn to snowboarding where he could express his free spirit and a belonging to the Snowboarder Culture. Very talented, he rode fast and fearless picking untracked lines down Highland’s Bowl and Snowmass Burnt Mountain.
After high school Ryan took a gap year and worked in Yellowstone National Park at the Old Faithful Inn and Yellowstone Lake Lodge. There he developed a love of nature and outdoor adventure…and, of course, the pleasures of hot springs. Ryan graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Fine Arts and a minor in Ceramics. He created an abundance of bowls, cups, vases, and sculptures which kept his “monkey mind” absorbed in art and purpose. While in college, Ryan travelled to Italy to study art and afterwards travelled to Spain, Morocco, and Greece to learn the history of art in other cultures. The experience opened his mind for a desire to travel the world. He went on to visit Switzerland and Amsterdam….but the dream was cut short on August 31.
Upon returning to Aspen, Ryan found himself in a cycle of working, rehabs, relapse…an endless pursuit of peace and purpose. He worked for a variety of businesses and filled a need for a knowledgeable skilled resort worker. During his working years he was employed by the Aspen Ski Co. at several mountain restaurants—Bonnies, Gwyn’s, and most recently Merry Go Round. He also spent summer months doing maintenance at the Snowmass Ski area. He was proud to work for the Romero Group and many reputable painting companies in Aspen. He owned his own painting company and took pride and satisfaction to put his artistic finishing touch to complete a project.
Ryan joined his father, Tony, who passed on Memorial Day, in the light and peace and bliss of their spiritual reunion. Ryan will be greatly missed by his beloved mother, Kathy, and dear brothers and sister…along with numerous aunts, uncles and cousins…. his 101 year old grandmother…and many Friends. He is survived by a daughter, Isabel Ryann Smith of Geneseo, IL.
Please join us for a Celebration of Ryan’s Life on October 14, 2023, the solar eclipse, at the base of Aspen Highlands (Ale House) from 1:00-4:00 in the afternoon. Contributions for an educational fund for Ryan’s daughter will be accepted at the memorial celebration.