Bernard P. McMenamy, former Breckenridge mayor |

Bernard P. McMenamy, former Breckenridge mayor

Bernard “Bernie” McMenamy, a longtime resident and former mayor of Breckenridge, passed away at home in Salida Dec. 2.

In the words of Summit Pioneers (Alison Grabau, 1999), “There is a call – one that is so clear and so wild that it cannot be denied. It is the call of the mountains. Bernie McMenamy paid heed to the message that beckoned him nearly 53 years ago, to move to higher altitudes, where a life full of strange new experiences was awaiting.”

He was born in Denver Sept. 27, 1929 to William Joseph and Francis Barwig McMenamy. He grew up in Denver, attending Regis High School and graduating from Regis College.

Mr. McMenamy served in the Navy for two years, stationed in Guam.

Bernie was a member of the National Ski Patrol since 1948, and worked on the Aspen Ski Patrol in the mid-50s.

In 1957, his life was forever changed behind the doors of the Golden Horn, as his wife to be, Linda Kapelke, first saw him in a floor show performance, but did not meet him at the time. That didn’t take place until a year later, but their fate was set, as they married April 12, 1958.

They had three children, son, Michael; daughter, Tara; daughter, Keli.

Bernie was an mechanical engineer/designer for 15 years while living in Denver. One of his most heralded projects was designing the mechanical system for the Denver Botanical Gardens.

He and Linda raised their three children beginning in Littleton, Colo., and moved to Breckenridge in 1970. There, he began work at the Breckenridge Ski Area, in numerous capacities, ultimately resulting in his becoming the mountain manager. He also worked as a construction supervisor on numerous projects throughout Breckenridge during the 70s and 80s.

He lived in Breckenridge for 35 years, and served for many years on the town council and as Mayor. He was active in the Red, White and Blue Fire Department.

In 1982 he and Linda opened a wildly popular and unique second-hand store, the Near Gnu, and operated it in Breckenridge for 15 years. Upon retirement, Bernie and Linda began traveling the world and going to Baja Mexico in 2000, where they would spend five-six months of the year on the beaches/community near Mulege. There, they engaged in fishing, hiking, kayaking and working with other couples and groups to give back to Mexican community that was their part-time home.

Bernie was passionate about skiing, fishing, golfing, foraging for mushrooms, jokes, helping others, politics and loving his grandchildren.

His compassionate heart was a big reason for many to seek his advice and guidance.

He is survived by his wife, Linda; son, Michael McMenamy of Boulder; daughter Tara Sheahan of Carbondale; daughter Keli Lynch of Princeton, NJ, along with nine grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Sunset Home, PO Box 885, Salida, CO 81201, in the name of Bernard Patrick McMenamy.

A celebration of his life is being planned for Breckenridge in the coming weeks. For information, please email: Include “Bernie Celebration” in the subject line.

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