Obituary: Harry Lester Baum III
– September 2, 2021
Harry Lester Baum III, entered his new adventure by leaving this life the morning of September 2 with loving family and friends sharing that transition.
Harry Lester Baum, lll, “ HBomb”, lived a life on his terms. Born in June of 1946, the eldest child of four to Emily (Young) Baum and Harry L Baum II in Denver. Growing up in the Hill Top neighborhood of Denver, with the societal discourse of the early 1960’s… Harry’s parents thought that a semester abroad in a boarding school in Switzerland would give their oldest son a foundation that would provide an enlightened world view. Oh yes, those few months definitely
set Harry on his path of independence, but not exactly the way his parents hoped.
After a semester abroad, Harry came home and finished high school at Washington High in Denver. He attended Denver University to pursue a language French literary degree, with the intention of going into International Diplomacy. However, when his father moved from being on the board of directors at Arapahoe Basin, to purchasing and developing Breckenridge ski area, then Peak 8, as a destination resort, Harry’s direction changed.
Harry was 20 years old and Main Street of Breckenridge was dirt when Harry found his life. A high mountain identity became Harry’s identity. Working in the early days of Breckenridge during the resort’s formation, Harry established the first trail team that wasn’t controlled by ski patrol and a team which developed the trails that all of us enjoy today. Fired by his father.. probably rightfully so.. always the rebel… Harry went back and was rehired by another manager….. and literally cut the runs on Peak 9 that his father had envisioned. His father had no idea.
Colorado mountain towns, being what they are, with lots of partying and few opportunities to create a foundation for the future, Harry moved to Brazil. It was a life changing experience. In Brazil Harry found work in heavy construction supervising crews cleaning slag from converter oven areas in steel mills throughout the country. The experience was an awaking that highlighted the reality of possibilities Harry had within the US that few he worked with in Brazil had. He came home, to Frisco.
Returning to Frisco in 1978 Harry was hired by Stan Miller to assist with bidding and job supervision in infrastructure construction. After a short time, he and Stan Miller partnered to start up a new company, Western Slope Utilities and that was the beginning of Harry’s career in the underground pipeline business. Eventually Harry bought out Stan Miller, and he and his new partner, John Stout, continued to grow the company. They opened a new division of trench-less sewer pipeline rehabilitation, which was extremely successful. Still looking for new opportunities, Harry perfected another technology, trench-less water pipeline rehabilitation. He was successful in obtaining patents and trademarks for this technology in the US, as well as many countries overseas.
Harry lived life loud, forward and confidently. The more effort it took to live that life, the better. Harry owned his life. Lived it on his terms. He stood up against adversity and supported the people he cared about unconditionally. Simple phrases like “A promise made, is a debt un- paid” aptly describe his philosophy. When a friend, family or employee were up against adversity, Harry would say, “You’ll figure it out” and when a probable solution was thought of, Harry always backed it. He believed in helping people become the best they could be.
After a lung transplant in September 2014, Harry stayed at his home in Frisco at 9000’ defying doctor’s recommendations of a more relaxed life. His determination to live was evident prior to his transplant when locals saw him riding his bike with a 65 lbs. oxygen tank on a Burley, hooked up to the back of his bike. Harry was 68 years old. And after receiving a lung transplant in 2014, was skiing Breckenridge in February of 2015. In April 2016 Harry took his eleventh helicopter ski trip to Alaska as the first lung transplant recipient the company had ever had. Harry skied over 65,000 vertical feet on that, 10-day trip.
Harry and Susanne met late in their lives but utilized their time together magically. They took many trips to Central and South America that always had a crazy special episode. Building opportunity and righting wrongs was their Hallmark. They were a match that was natural and special. But their time together was way too short.
Harry embodied what it means to live life, in the mountains here in Summit County. He skied like breathing. The single- track mountain biking trails he cut over thirty years are legendary. He loved unconditionally. He was humble, generous, way too much fun, and incredibly bright. Curious, imaginative, great at trivial facts but a horrible poker player. Harry was great at leading one on, but terrible at lying.
Harry is survived by his wife Susanne Johnston , his sister Georgia Laudner, and brothers Wells and Jeff Baum. Harry, you will be missed by so many. Your lust for life, no matter the obstacles, is beyond influential. Thank you so much, from all of us that you’ve touched. Thank you for being in our lives. You will be missed.
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