Inscriptions at the Park
-Matthew 'Gus' Gustafson
-Robert 'Bob' Berger
-Earl 'Bud' Kellar
-Mary Ellen Canniff
-Jim & Sharon Norwood
-Gary Louis Post
July 4,1948-July 26, 2008
-Robert Nels Martinson
-Arthur Jazz Anton
Vail Memorial Park
- It completes our life cycle as individuals and as a community.
- It gives Vail a soul.
- It provides a lasting remembrance of our loved ones.
- It connects us to the next generation.
- All who feel connected to Vail have a place here.
- The Vail Memorial Park Foundation is a
|Memorial Park-new to Vail 2005|
Published May 26, 2005 at midnight
Vail finally has accepted the hereafter.
The new Vail Memorial Park is "as close to a cemetery as Vail is ever going to get," said Suzanne Silverthorn, spokeswoman for the high-style ski town 100 miles west of Denver.
"We don't allow casket burials or headstones, but we do allow ashes to be scattered in designated areas or placed in a biodegradable urn," she said. "We think this memorial park will really accommodate our environmental sensitivities."
Vail residents long have debated whether there should be a place for the dead in a resort where the fun is never supposed to end.
A decade ago, they killed a design for a cemetery, featuring a memorial walkway and sunken plaques.
After much more debate and a change of spirit, townspeople last year dedicated the Vail Memorial Park, an 11-acre clearing along Gore Creek in the East Vail neighborhood.
Monday will be the first Memorial Day since the park opened, but no ceremony is planned, partly because work on the park is still under way. Some townspeople think an annual gathering to toast the dearly departed may commence on Memorial Day 2006.
Mayor Rod Slifer, who has lived in the resort since before the lifts opened in December 1962, said the memorial park marks the ski town's maturation as a community.
"We've been kicking this around for 20 years, maybe longer, whether we should have some kind of cemetery," said Slifer, 70.
During the decades of debate over the image of Vail, many of the town's founding fathers became grandfathers.
"We didn't have an aging population then, like we do now," said Merv Lapin, 65, an investment banker who stopped in Vail in 1966 while en route to Aspen and settled in.
"A lot of people, like myself, who have spent most of our lives in Vail, want to be buried here."
He says the community of 4,500 (where the median family income is more than $66,000 a year) is ready for graceful acceptance of a care facility for the elderly, and maybe even a funeral home.
The memorial park site, purchased by the town in 1977 as open space, will be maintained in perpetuity. Framed by tall evergreens, its natural look will be kept.
Stone benches, boulders and trees can be purchased as memorials, with Vail property owners charged lower prices than out-of- towners. Prices range from $2,000, for a town resident, for an inscribed stone in a wall or walkway, to $9,000, for an out-of-towner, for a tree a minimum of 10 feet tall.
For a casket-and-gravestone burial, Vail residents can choose Minturn's historic Riverview Cemetery, down valley from Vail.
Or they can stay forever in Vail and laugh at death, as Lapin does with his chosen inscription: "I came. I saw. I bought. Let's play hockey."