Summit County: Colorado native Gertrude Philippe dies

Summit County CO, Colorado

Gertrude Philippe of Frisco died Tuesday. She was 91.

Gertrude Miller Philippe was born in Denver on June 5, 1917, into the prominent pioneer Miller family.

Her father, Sam Miller was a larger-than-life figure in the early Colorado and Wyoming livestock business. Her mother, Annie Kaplan, was an early-day Denver businesswoman who, before her marriage to Gertrude’s father, owned the Orlinsky Market at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Mariposa, a landmark in turn-of-the-century Denver.

Educated at Denver East High School and the University of Denver, she was a talented athlete, musician and scholar.

In 1934, she met her late husband, Frank Philippe, and they were married in 1936. Her husband was employed in the Philippe family business, The Columbia Press, Inc. He was a member of a pioneer family that owned and operated businesses in the mining boomtown of Leadville during the 1880s. Frank eventually rose to become the sole owner of that established printing company.

During the Second World War, Gertrude worked at the Remington Arms ammunition stations with the U.S. Army Signal Corp. After the war, they returned to the family business in Denver.

Immediately after the war, Gertrude and her sister, the late Sarah Finesilver, began constructing a log lodge in the small mountain town of Frisco. Partially financed by money borrowed from older sister, Celia Marchick, who was the proprietor of Denver’s first woman-owned pharmacy, the Cabin (as it was known) became the headquarters of numerous hunting and fishing expeditions. These early-day exploits are best described in the book, “Pioneers of the Summit.” It was in that log cabin that she passed away Tuesday.

During the 1960s and ’70s Gertrude worked at The Columbia Press honing her financial skills that would be used for the remainder of her life.

After their retirement, the couple became associated with the International Executives Service Corp., and held posts in Asia and South and Central America.

Frank Philippe passed away in 1985. A son, Richard Marc, was fatally injured in an automobile accident in 1979.

In the mid 1970s, Gertrude went into business with her son, Robert S. Philippe, operating as The Masontown Development Co. They developed the earliest new commercial structures on Main Street in Frisco. Later, he became one of the largest private commercial property owners in Summit County.

She often said: “Rob is good at what he does, and I’m good at what I do. We make a good team.” Working almost daily at The Philippe Family Investment Co. as a full partner and bookkeeper, she retired on her 90th birthday in June of 2007.

Kind and generous with friends and family, she is survived by son Robert S. Philippe, grandson Trevor F. Philippe, and granddaughter Talya Norel Philippe, all of Frisco; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Her second husband, Bertram Naster, a professional musician and former

concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, also survives her.

Please make donations to the Pioneer Families Museum Fund, Temple Israel Foundation, 208 W. Eighth St., Leadville, CO, 80461.

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