Eagle County’s senior sensations
Ryan Summerlin December 3, 2012
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – If fun is the meaning of life, and it is, local seniors have the definition down dead solid perfect.
Seniors from around Eagle County got together Monday to laugh and sing and engage in general fun-having.
Oralia Archibeque, Ted’s mom, was in the room grinning from ear to ear, as was everyone else, including the Park Hyatt staff.
Robert Purdy is starting his third winter as the Park Hyatt’s general manager. Three years ago he started work just before the annual seniors luncheon.
“It’s something the Park Hyatt looks forward to each year,” Purdy said. “We love to give back to our community and what better way to give back than to host people who’ve served this community their entire lives.”
Local jazz legends Tony Gulizia and Allan Finney provided the music, performing jazz renditions of Christmas classics. The music started upbeat and stayed that way.
The room was packed with seniors – laughing, singing, and doing the Chicken Dance when Helmut Fricker when Gulizia and Finney cranked it up. Gulizia not only plays keyboards, but also the accordion. Who knew?
There’s none of this fashionably-late business. The seniors showed up early because they can’t wait to get the party started – and, it’s a great party.
Eagle County has three senior centers, Eagle, Minturn and Basalt, and this is one of their only opportunities to get together. Some ride the bus, some drive. They get there any way they can with the possible exception of parachuting in.
“Everyone looks forward to this,” said John Bade, a senior enjoying his seventh Park Hyatt senior luncheon. “They’re so gracious here. They treat us like family.”
Several from the Park Hyatt’s senior management staff serve and bus tables. They’re good, not as good as their banquet staff, but good.
Scott Gubrud is the Park Hyatt’s sales and marketing director. Monday he was filling water glasses and other assorted duties.
Beverly Kunkel, 94, was this year’s winner as the oldest.
“I have three sons in their 60s,” Beverly said, ticking off the names of David, Jim and Greg, and talking about how proud she is.
She’s been coming to these for years and loves it, she said.
She and Paul Kunkel were married 69 years when he died.
The secret to staying married that long?
“The secret is to always agree with your partner,” she said, adding that she and Paul rarely disagreed.
Beverly was extolling the glories of her daughters-in-law when she paused, looked around the smiled.
“I’m very, very lucky,” she said. “I have a good family and good friends. What more could I ask of life?”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.