Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! enjoys a visit with Boot Gordon
Ryan Summerlin March 28, 2014
If you’re 90 years old, life — understandably — becomes a game of numbers.
Spike! knows well: His mother, Medith Lawrence Porter, of Delta, is 89; his mother-in-law, Martha Rasmussen Staby, of Loveland, is nearing 97.
Fitting right among them is Silverthorne’s Stuart “Boot” Gordon, who is celebrating 90 years of colorful life with 100 of his friends on Saturday, for a day of skiing at A-Basin and later gettin’ down at an invitation-only party at the Silverthorne Elks Lodge, just a short distance from the famous foam-dome house he calls home.
Asked how many square feet the seven-bedroom, three-bath multi-dome residence has, his response: “There are no ‘square’ feet.”
Boot was ‘born in a snowstorm’ in 1924.
The house covers 5,000 feet, with walls of varying thicknesses, and oftentimes Boot has seven or eight folks living with him.
During Spike!’s visit Wednesday morning, the pace at the place was picking up as party preparations began in earnest. There were phone calls to be answered as friends Marg Mason of New Zealand and Australia and a guy named “Sundance” had things humming.
With Saturday’s orchestrated event emceed by Nick Karas, a former Dillon timeshare sales guy, now of Pagosa Springs, there will be singing, dancing, costume judging, toasts, a slide show, war and skiing stories galore, all marking nine decades of life for Boot, who was “born in a snowstorm in Minneapolis” in 1924.
Boot was in World War II with the U.S. Army Air Corps, flying in the Pacific to combat the Japanese onslaught. He was activated again during the Korean War, ending his military career as a captain. He flew combat missions in the P-38 and later the P-51 Mustang prop fighters.
Boot’s Subaru wagon license plate reads: “P51 WW2.” Someone stole his “P38 WW2” some years back.
In 1954, he earned his master’s degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., to complement his bachelor’s from the University of Minnesota, later learned to calm himself — a bit — via Transcendental Meditation, and skied to his first Professional Ski Instructors of America certification.
At one time, Boot was the ski school director at Buck Hill, south of Minneapolis/St. Paul, the starting slope for Lindsey Vonn. And here in Colorado, Boot was the headmaster of Academy on The Summit in Frisco, a private school.
Over the years, Boot married and divorced three times and fathered three daughters. As for those wives, Boot claims, “I can get letters of recommendation from all of them.”
Daughter Jane Westkott of Milwaukie, Ore., will be here for the party, as will grandson Tell Perry, and daughter Terry Matthews and granddaughter Medoc Perry, both from Seattle.
Others making the scene include nephew Peter Kaiser and 12 others from Minnesota; Dillon marathoner Tom Schnitzius; educator Dr. Bill Spady; and Tom Echternach. Boot rattles off their names and spells them without hesitation.
Boot’s built futuristic homes, written three books on skiing; one titled “Gordonstown — A New Design for America”; an art book, titled “Artivity”; and his latest, “Clear It — for God’s Sake.”
Boot also designed Xanadu in the Wisconsin Dells, known as the “House of Tomorrow.”
For a YouTube video of Boot and Marg at the foam dome, filmed by Brandon Donadt in 2012, go to this link: http://youtu.be/Dm4FrREbqWg
And remember, Boot says: “Peace passes all comprehension.”
An Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Corey Pusey will be held Sunday, March 30, at 2 p.m., at the Church of the Latter Day Saints in Frisco.
Congrats to the 18-year-old, who has been in scouting for eight years with Troop 40, headed by Scoutmaster John Muirhead.
Corey, son of Teri and Merlon Pusey, of Frisco, plans to serve a two-year mission for his church and then get a degree in psychology.
Dale Butler, of Frisco, who headed the Copper Mountain Metro District Waste Water Treatment Plant, turned 62 and retired after being there nearly 34 years. He was honored at a recent party with 80 celebrants.
Wife Pat reports, “It was a hoot.”
Dale’s brief story (in his words): “All pretty easy — came to Copper in 1975, started with the district in 1981, been chief plant operator since 1985. Skiing till fishing, fishing till hunting, hunting till skiing. Throw in some travel to wine regions, the occasional RV trip to Alaska and spending time at mom and dad’s lake in Minnesota should keep me occupied.”
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org
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