Letter: Good-bye, old friend | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Good-bye, old friend

I was very saddened to hear about Stewy’s untimely and tragic demise. I was one of the first people Stewart met when he moved to town. I believe it was the summer of 1991.

I had been working at Carl’s Pharmacy, at the front desk, for awhile and I had seen my share of transient hipsters come through town and have their stint at Carl’s. Like so many before him, Stewart also landed at Carl’s and that’s where we became friends. He rolled into town in his navy blue BMW, shaggy hair and those round John Lennon glasses. He was so charismatic and down to earth and such a sweet-natured, cool dude.

He had this quality about him that just accepted everyone for who they were and made them feel more confident and better about themselves. I was one of many who was enchanted by his magnetism. When he told me about how he had packed up his things, left the East Coast and his career as an attorney behind because “he hated it,” I was instantly drawn to him and admired his reckless abandonment and gut for following his dreams and moving to Aspen to become a “mountain hippie,” as he once told me. It wasn’t long before he traded that BMW for a red SUV and began to carve his niche in Aspen.

We bonded over music. We had different tastes in music, but we both learned to appreciate one another’s opinions and suggestions. I think the best memory I have with Stewart is when we went on a 17-mile hike up to Snowmass Lake. At the end of the day, we ended up at the Snowmass free concerts. My left knee has never been the same since that day. When Stewy quickly transitioned over to the job he loved at The Aspen Times, we started running around with different circles and didn’t hang out together as much anymore. But we would still see each other at Carl’s and around town. It made me happy to see that he had found his home. He loved everything about his life in Aspen, which is why it’s so hard to understand why he did what he did. No one will ever really know what was on his mind and what could have been troubling him so much to see no other way out.

I left the Roaring Fork Valley a couple of years later, never to return and live there. Stewy and I fell out of touch. But I always knew he was still around and writing for the Times and living the life he loved. Everyone loved Stewy. He was everybody’s friend. I will not be able to be there for his memorial this weekend, but I know there will be an outpouring from the community.

I know he touched many, many lives throughout the years. My heart goes out to his wife and daughter and all of those who loved and admired him. He truly was one of a kind, as Aspen icon.

Rest in peace, old friend!

Ben Bolona


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