Yes, he will be missed | AspenTimes.com

Yes, he will be missed

Andy Stone

Scott Edmondson will be missed.He will be missed by those who knew him and loved him – and, curiously, I have to say I’m not quite part of that group. I knew Scott, sure, but not all that well. We’d say hello whenever we passed. Maybe stop and chat for a minute, but that was all. So I can’t say I knew him well enough to love him – but I knew him well enough to truly admire him. I suspect it was hard for anyone to know Scott Edmondson and not admire him.But Scott will be missed by more than just those who knew him. Aspen itself – the core and the soul and the spirit of this town – will miss Scott Edmondson.I know that sounds a little sappy and I apologize for that to all of you and, most of all, to Scott. Because Scott wasn’t a sappy kind of guy. Oh, I’m sure he had plenty of those moments – and those who knew him far better than I can probably testify to that. But Scott was someone with a large, active spirit who really loved his life.Scott was an extraordinary combination: a true mountaineer, expert skier and climber … and middle school teacher. I know people he inspired as a teacher, people who credit him for spurring them on to serious intellectual and personal achievement.But he combined that inspirational quality with the ability to cut loose and ski hell for leather down Ajax or a demanding backcountry peak in midwinter.He was one hell of a guy.Now, as I said, right at the beginning, I didn’t really know Scott all that well. So I can’t spin inspiring and amusing stories about him for the rest of this column.But that’s OK, because my real point goes beyond that.My real point is that Scott will be missed by the town itself. His rare combination of qualities and abilities will be terribly hard to replace.I’ve already talked about those qualities and abilities, but let’s stop and go through them again.He was a teacher – “a superb teacher,” in the words of one of his colleagues – who taught with rigor and discipline. His students really learned.And he was a teacher who inspired his students, teaching them lessons about life, ethics and values.He was a top-notch athlete, a mountaineer, skier and climber – and, almost in passing, a nationally ranked bicycle racer.In short: body, mind and spirit.I don’t know whether Scott would appreciate this – he might just guffaw – but he was a true, and rare, embodiment of that Aspen Idea we all love to go on about.And he embodied that Idea the way it was supposed to be – in real life, doing the things he loved.These days, the Aspen Idea has become more a matter of “appreciating,” than “doing.” We go to see great art and listen to great intellectuals. And as for that “body” business, well, too many of us think that means riding our bikes down to the Woody Creek Tavern for lunch or taking the gondola up Aspen Mountain for one run down before lunch at the Little Nell.But Scott really lived all of it. He didn’t just appreciate the life of the mind and spirit; he got down in the trenches and slugged it out – teaching and inspiring … not just students, but middle-school students. That’s serious business.And his mountaineering was serious business too. He climbed and skied challenging peaks all over the state and all around the world.But when I say serious business, that doesn’t mean he was grim about it.That’s the great, overlooked thing about that fancy Aspen Idea. When you put it all together – body, mind and spirit – in one, very real person, you wind up with a just plain great guy. No pretensions. No put-ons. Fun to talk to. Fun to be with.That’s the Aspen Idea.That was Scott Edmondson.He will be missed.Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail address is andy@aspentimes.com.