Local Spotlight: Virgil Simon, 95
This month’s Local Spotlight features Virgil Simon, a longtime Snowmass local and active community member.
Two weekends ago, Simon celebrated his 95th birthday in-person with his wife, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and virtually with family from the Midwest. It was the same weekend the Snowmass Chapel hosted an Easter car parade that wound all around the village and visited Simon’s home, which he considered a birthday gift and part of his celebration.
“It was so great to have my great-granddaughter, granddaughter and wife with me,” Simon said, noting his wife turns 95 in August and that they’ve been together 76 years. “It was a wonderful time.”
An Iowa native, Simon has lived full-time in Snowmass with his wife, Joan, for roughly 25 years. The couple bought one of the first Blue Roof condos in 1967 and have spent most of their time in the village ever since.
Simon is well known for his local involvement in the arts. He co-founded the Aspen Choral Society with Ray V. Adams, which Simon said he was inspired to help start because of Adams’ talents as a composer and conductor. Simon, who has been a vocalist most of his life, also sang with the choral society and at the Snowmass Chapel and says he still works to stay active with both organizations even though he doesn’t sing anymore.
Simon also is well known for his unbelievable artwork, namely sketches and watercolor paintings. Before he worked as a product designer, he was asked to help the United States seal its World War II victory over Japan while serving as a U.S. Army soldier in 1945, literally sketching the seal that would be used on the documents Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Mamoru Shigemitsu and other government officials signed, as previously reported in The Aspen Times.
When asked what’s kept him in Snowmass Village so long and what he’s enjoyed most about living here, Simon said the quiet and peacefulness coupled with the access to great arts and music has made Snowmass a great place to call home.
“We love it here. … We’ve really enjoyed going to the festivals and all of the great things Snowmass has to offer,” Simon said. “I guess I really want to say thank you to the community for all of the help in getting to this stage in life. Thank you for all you do. We’re still enjoying life here.”
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Daily rehearsals, hands-on recording labs, lectures from industry giants and public performances packed into two-week intensives in the art and the business of making music: the Jazz Aspen-Snowmass Academy is no leisurely summer camp in the woods.