Letter: Memories of Glenn Frey and Grassroots

Glenn Frey was a genuine friend and generous member of our Aspen community.

Glenn was an extraordinary songwriter and musician, but he was equally a genuine friend to so many. He was righteous and very candid, and damn, he was usually so “right on” about so much.

We had crossed paths over the years, but it wasn’t until I spent time with him in the late ’80s that we forged a friendship. He was a fiercely loyal friend. If you met someone close to Glenn, you knew they were in his life forever, not just a casual acquaintance. He chose his friends carefully. He would say his best choice was marrying Cindy. She was the love of his life along with his children.

In 1991, John Reid organized a meeting at Aspen City Hall for interested people to host inner-city kids from Denver for a ski experience. I became involved and soon saw this was a very fledgling nonprofit with a special leader. John had a big heart and a big idea but lacked resources. Soon after that meeting, I ran into Frankie Sosa, Glenn’s right-hand person. I remember Glenn mentioning to me he might make a boys camp at his place in Old Snowmass, so I gave Frankie some information about John and his ski program for inner-city youth. Well, the rest of the story is pure Glenn.

Glenn and Cindy called John and jumped in head first. They had boys stay at their home, counseled kids, camped with kids and, in the end, generously supported the organization for years. I can’t express the extent they gave of themselves unconditionally to the organization and the kids. There were many very special people who gave to Grassroots, but we could not have sustained the organization and supported so many youth without Glenn and Cindy.

Glenn and Cindy’s friends were also so incredibly generous. The Eagles got together for a benefit at the Double Diamond and reunited before the official Hell Freezes Over tour. All the proceeds went to Grassroots. Talk about friendships — the Eagles all supported one another’s causes. Irving Azoff, their manager, set up ways that concert money also could support Grassroots. The generosity of these resources and spirit in which they were given was unparalleled to anything I have experienced.

The Grassroots Aspen Experience was a wonderful program. I am still in contact with so many of the Grassroots kids. Many are married and have kids, many have businesses, some are teachers and professors, some are poets, and some are artists.

The number of lives that Glenn touched and enriched is hard to fathom.

Please send your memories of Glenn and of your Grassroots experiences to John or me, and we will create a special book for the Frey family to share our appreciation to them. Email or

Beth Gill