Friends toast, roast ‘Boot’ Gordon
SILVERTHORNE – Friends and family roasted Stuart “Boot” Gordon at one of the biggest 80th birthday parties that the Silverthorne Pavilion has ever seen.
About 80 guests of all ages from New Zealand, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and all over Colorado sang, laughed and told stories of his life late into the night Saturday.
Boot’s 50-year-old daughter, Terry Matthews, remembered walking out to the back yard as a 6-year-old to see her father painting a tree – while standing on his head.
Longtime friend John Baranway first saw Boot walking down the street in a wet suit in Aspen the summer of 1963.
“He had this big dog behind him, and he was talking and singing to it. I approached him and said, ‘Excuse me sir, it appears you’re way off course,'” Baranway said. “It turned out he was teaching a kayak class at the Hotel Jerome.”
Boot taught skiing since the 1940s at Aspen, Snowmass, Keystone, Vail and Sun Valley, Idaho.
He began skiing as a child in the 1920s with “jump skis.”
“I went skiing with him (Saturday) and I still couldn’t keep up with him,” said longtime friend Dick Arnold. “He was in his kilt, of course.”
Decked with a king’s crown and a smile a mile wide Saturday, the octogenarian also wore his traditional Scottish kilt, wool stockings, his World War II medals and black leather lace-up Gaelic dance slippers.
His wife, Charlotte Gordon – a meditation leader in the community – donned a queen’s crown and sat in a throne next to Boot at the event Saturday night.
“He’s really ahead of his time,” Arnold said.
“I think people are going to look back and say he was right.”
The sculptor and several other friends want to follow through on Boot’s 287-page vision of a small town with synergistic capitalism.
The premise of Boot’s book “Gordonstown” is for neighbors to work together to create a local, sustainable economy that is energy efficient and friendly.
Boot looked all over for a place to build Gordonstown. More than three decades ago a real estate agent from United Farm Agency, Nick Karas, found him property near the Blue River of Summit County.
Boot lived in a teepee year-round in the early ’70s while he built the infamous 5,000 square-foot Ensculptic dome on what is now the northeast edge of Silverthorne.
The hobbit-like structure has no right angles and has pods for rooms.
“Boot never had any money because his tenants sometimes didn’t pay. I couldn’t believe it and I said, ‘Boot, why don’t you kick them out?'” Karas said. “He said, ‘Oh I couldn’t do that, they’re just kids.'”
One of the guests was Janny Krynen, an opera singer from Holland who moved to Summit Cove in the 1960s.
“One day about 30 years ago, we were driving to Kremmling for wood and we saw this strange, isolated structure across the Blue River,” Krynen said. “Boot showed us how he made it.”
Community potlucks with people of all ages still happen regularly at the foam dome.
About a month ago, a young pilot met Boot for the first time. His eyes widened as he heard the types of aircraft Boot flew in World War II.
One of Boot’s two ex-wives, Marilyn Kaiser Gordon Alexander, traveled from Whidbey Island, Wash., with her current husband for the celebration.
“We’re all relatives, really, in the big picture,” said Alexander. “When you have grandchildren together, you have to continue to get along.”
Chrissy Karas was in her 20s when a 40-something Boot introduced himself to her in Vail.
“He’s the youngest person I know,” Chrissy Karas said. “He has inspired Nick’s and my family for years. Whenever he and Charlotte visit, it’s always smiles and peacefulness.”
Boot smiled as he ate a piece of the giant chocolate birthday cake.
“So many people have made my life fantastic,” Boot said.
Christine McManus can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229 or at email@example.com.
80th Birthday Report Card for Stuart “Boot” Gordon
Graded by Silverthorne Librarian Mary Snook
Endorsed by family and friends at the Silverthorne Pavilion
Youth of Spirit A+ Corporeal Elasticity A+
Experience Stockpile A+ Ability to Adventure A+
Sense of Humor A+ Milestone Celebration A+
Longevity of Friendship A+ Bucking of Trends A+
Connectiveness A+ Small Stuff Non-Sweating A+
Insight into Complexity A+ Storytelling Vigor A+
Self Awareness A+ Dream Cultivation A +
Generosity of Heart A+ Hygiene A+
Acceptance of Change A+ Citizenship A+
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