Thomas Munro Ehrenberg
Thomas Munro Ehrenberg, a longtime Eagle local known for his generous spirit, infectious laugh and tenacious work ethic, died Oct. 8, surrounded by his family.
Tom was born Feb. 25, 1950, in Minneapolis, and he attended Minnesota State University in Moorehead. He arrived in Vail in 1975. Tom worked for Rocky Mountain Airways and as a Sno-Cat driver for Vail Resorts before moving to the Eagle area where he bought 10 acres in the Mosher subdivision up Brush Creek in 1980. He began residing in the Eagle town limits in 1989 and he was a longtime employee for Eagle County Buildings and Grounds.
Tom was a civically minded citizen and he proudly served on the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission from July 1992 to April 1996 and on the Eagle Town Board from April 1996 to April 2004. He also served on the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District Board, the Eagle Golf Course Advisory Committee, the East Eagle Restoration Project Committee and the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink Capital Improvements Committee.
Like any good Minnesota boy, Tom had an abiding love for hockey. He was instrumental in starting Eagle’s youth hockey programs and, for more than a decade, he volunteered as one of Eagle’s Zamboni Brothers — a group of dedicated hockey enthusiasts who laid down and then maintained the winter rink at Eagle Town Park. Along with this fellow “brothers,” Tom could often be spotted behind the wheel of the Downvalley Zamboni — a pickup truck with a 300-gallon water tank cobbled together with a spray bar and sweeper — during the predawn hours. Then at lunch hour, locals could often find him in the middle of a hotly contested pick-up hockey game.
“Tom was the one who came up with the design of the Downvalley Zamboni,” said fellow “brother” Bill Johnson. “He was big into hockey. He coached a whole lot of kids and he had a lot to do with getting the indoor rink built.”
Tom and his fellow Zamboni Brothers were named Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce Citizens of the Year in honor of their volunteer work for the local youth hockey program and the Eagle Town Park rink.
Tom’s interests were always varied. At one time, he taught driver’s education classes and enjoyed training Labrador retrievers. He loved hiking, mountain biking, fishing and bird hunting. He was an avid gardener with an encyclopedic knowledge of weeds. His fellow Eagle Town Board members quickly learned he kept an eagle eye out for noxious growth in town parks and open spaces.
“Tom was not a fan of Russian Olive trees or Canadian thistle,” said Pam Boyd, who served with him on the Eagle Town Board. “Almost every meeting, he would advise the town staff to get after a particular area when weeds were sprouting up. We used to tease him about being the ‘weed guy’ but Tom just laughed and kept on offering his suggestions. Tom was passionate about preserving and enhancing Eagle’s natural beauty.”
“His appreciation of a fresh-cut lawn and how it should look was amazing,” said his daughter, Megan Ehrenberg.
“His legacy is what you don’t see, and that’s a great thing,” said Willy Powell, former Eagle Town Manager.
Powell said that while Tom was on the town board, he spearheaded a project to improve the Bellyache Ridge hillside above The Bluffs subdivision. After several decades, the hillside was scarred and eroded and it had become an eyesore visible throughout the town and from Interstate 70.
Powell noted that Tom organized a project to revegetate the hillside and develop designated trails through the area.
“Tom led the effort to coordinate with the BLM and local volunteers to restore the hillside with grasses and designated trails. Those trails are still in use and part of the town’s overall system,” said Powell.
“I really enjoyed serving on the town board with Tom,” said former board member and current Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney. “Tom was a fierce advocate for the town and a real common sense voice.”
During the last three years, Tom ran a landscaping and snow removal business and he spent many hours volunteering for the Eagle County Seniors.
Leona Perkins, manager at the Eagle senior center, said Tom was a compassionate and generous man who had a special way of working with seniors.
“Gardening was his expertise and he would help the seniors with their flower gardens, but really, he did a lot of things for the seniors,” said Perkins
He was a proud father and a loving grandfather.
Tom is survived by his wife, Trina Ehrenberg; his daughters, Megan Ehrenberg, Jessica Medsker and Casey Medsker; his sons, Jason Ehrenberg and Michael Medsker; and his sisters, Janet Reed and Nancy Burchfield. His cousins, nieces, nephews, grandkids and friends will all miss him deeply.
Megan Ehrenberg and family would like to invite all friends to a celebration of the life of Thomas Ehrenberg on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 11 a.m. at the Eagle County Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been set up at Alpine Bank in Eagle under Tom Ehrenberg Memorial Fund. Donations will go to Seniors On Broadway to create a memorial garden in Tom’s name at the Golden Eagle Senior Apartments.
Snow usually comes and goes in this part of the state. A forecasted storm is expected to stick around for a while. Forecasters are calling for snow to persist throughout the weekend in the high country, with a prospect of a couple of feet of powder by the time the storm starts to diminish on Monday.