To: The Uhl Family
From: Bill Stirling
Date: March 1, 2002
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When I nominated Gretl for the Aspen Hall of Fame last fall, it seemed so obvious. I could not think of a more likely inductee and wondered why she had not been elected earlier. How lucky we were that she was able to be part of the celebration before her death. She was utterly radiant the night of the induction, and, as always, she treated everyone so wamly, so graciously. She truly rose to the occasion and made us feel good. She always had that way about her. She made us feel special, even in the face of such daunting odds.

Gretl stands tall in the procession of strong, powerful women who have shaped Aspen's history in so many ways. Think of that roster, dead and alive: Elizabeth Paepcke, Marge Scheid, Marge Fisher, Mona Frost, Claire Sandersen, Ellie Islin, Eve Hoemeyer, Peggy Rowland, Mirte Berko, Connie Harvey, Dotty Fox, Merrill Ford, Gretl Uhl and so many others. These women were and are visionaries, pioneers, environmentalists, idealists, artists, writers, instructors, retailers, nurses, and chefs.

She had already made her mark in Gamisch-Partenkirchen as a young woman. Had it not been for the War, she would have most certainly been a member of the German Alpine team and would have probably km skied in the Olympics. What good fortune for Aspcn that she and Sepp chose this remote, old mining town of Aspen for their new home in the Rockies.

She lived in a Victorian which she and Sepp carefully nurtured and restored over the years, preserving a piece of Aspen's heritage. it is hard to walk by her house and not think that she is inside. It was always so reassuring to know that she was there. She ordered and erected a panabode even before Lefty Brinkman had thought of his cast side log village. It was such a practical idea, ergo: affordable housing. She was ahead of her time. She did not have to ask the Government to build housing for Aspen's dreamers. Besides her children, think of how many of our friends lived in that charming log house over the years.

She probably made her most profound and lasting mark as the wizard in the kitchen, combining old world spaetzle with new world cuisine. Her strudel will be forever remembered. What was lunch at Grett's without that gratifying, comforting and absolutely, delicious strudel? The recipe was of course a deep secret. And why not. I dare say that, even i someone had known the nuances of this magical sweet, it would never have been quite the same without her touch. Her presence at her mountain restaurant was always so calming and reassuring. The men and women who worked at her side will never forget her quiet, yet firm,

I first got to know Gretl in 1983 when I greeted a mission of visitors from Bavaria. The Bavarian Minister of Transportation gave an informative talk with translation at one of the Aspen Institute's seminar rooms. It was a trade and friendship cavalcade which actually led to Aspen's purchasing reliable German-made buses as part of the first RFTA fleet, and some are still on the road. Gretl was the quiet, behind the scenes ambassador, introducing people and making everyone feel comfortable. She was a genius in this setting. When I proposed the idea of a Sister Cities Consortium of mountain towns from all over the world, she was instrumental in expanding and making our relationship with Garmisch-Partenkirchen so much richer and meaningful for both of our towns. Her work led to exchanges among Davos, Chamonix and Garmisch as we began to build our international grouping of international ski towns.

I will miss her thoughtfulness. Her outrage at misguided or inappropriate behavior. Her impeccable, almost flawless style. Her concern and love for Aspen. Her persistent, but always polite way of making her point and connecting with you. I often saw her walking in the West End, and we always stopped and talked. I so looked forward to those accidental encounters. I am almost sure that I saw her walking on Hallam St., just the other night.

Now let us praise this dignified, humble and famous woman. And as James Agee taught us, the really famous people were those who toiled without ego or applause, and made what we love about Aspen and America so solid, so rich and so meaningful. See you again Gretl, probably when I am walking in the West End.