VAIL — Stan Bernstein, 71, died unexpectedly June 25. He’s remembered as an important part of the “second wave” of those who helped create Vail.
Bernstein, then 26, arrived in Vail in 1968, with a BS in accounting from UCLA, reservoirs of intelligence and enthusiasm — and absolutely no experience.
Vail was growing quickly, with the town having gone from ski resort base area to incorporated town in just four years. The first town manager, Blake Lynch, secured the footing. The second, Terry Minger, supplied the vision. According to family and friends, neither would have accomplished what they did without Bernstein’s “financial genius.”
“We knew so little about what we were doing that we sweated every detail,” Bernstein said in an interview several years ago. Working on finances for the fledgling town, he labored over best- and worst-case scenarios to ensure that tax revenues from mill levies and real estate sales kept the buses running, the cobblestoned streets clean and police and fire services equipped. Among the many vital projects that rose during his tenure were the first parking structure and transportation center. He soon became a well-known expert in municipal finance.
After Bernstein left the town in 1979, he moved on to assist in the financial planning of Avon, Beaver Creek, Telluride and numerous ski developments throughout the Mountain West, as well as other resorts as far away as Costa Rica. Closer to home, he consulted on bond issues up and down the Vail and Eagle valleys. His firm, Stan Bernstein & Associates, will continue to be managed by his youngest daughter, Amy Greer.
Stan Bernstein was the beloved husband of Lois for 44 years; loving dad of Meggen (Ron) Kirkham, Carrie (Steve Csajaghy) Bernstein and Amy (Brandon) Greer; proud grandpa of Kylie, Patrick, Tessa, Ashlyn, Beckett and Maya; and brother of Ronald Bernstein. He will be in our hearts forever as a husband, dad, grandpa, brother, friend, municipal financial consultant, visionary, comedian/jokester, magician, skier, biker, tennis player and body surfer. Stan lived in Vail from 1968-1982 at which point he moved to Denver, but continued to live in Vail part-time.