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Klaus Obermeyer lying low for his 101st birthday

Aspen icon focusing on health during pandemic, but will be ready to party next year

Klaus Obermeyer sits at his table getting hugs and happy birthday wishes during his 100th birthday party at the Hotel Jerome on Monday, December 2, 2019. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Aspen icon Klaus Obermeyer’s 101st birthday on Wednesday will be a low-key event because he is taking the pandemic seriously.

“It’s just too damned dangerous,” he said Monday from his midvalley ranch.

BIRTHDAY WISHES

While friends won’t be able to personally celebrate his birthday this year, they can send cards to Klaus Obermeyer, 115 Aspen Airport Business Center, Aspen, CO 81611.

Everybody who knows Klaus knows he is quick with a laugh and loves visiting with family and friends. He has thrown fabulous birthday gatherings for several consecutive years, featuring a Bavarian band, apple strudel and, if the crowd is lucky, a yodel or two. He is promising a return to the fun in 2021.



Klaus Obermeyer jokes with the crowd while on stage with his son Wally Obermeyer during Klaus’s 100th birthday celebration in the Hotel Jerome on Monday, December 2, 2019. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

“There will be no birthday celebration this year but there will be one next year,” he said with a laugh. “Such is life. We don’t want to get people together. It’s too dangerous now.”

Fortunately, the celebration of his 100th birthday was so grand and well attended that there’s probably enough good cheer to carry over to this year. More than 500 people wished him well at a birthday bash and community celebration at the Hotel Jerome last year.



Klaus Obermeyer laughs with the crowd as people yell happy birthday wishes during his 100th birthday celebration in the Hotel Jerome on Monday, December 2, 2019. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Obermeyer said he and his wife, Nome, are staying put on their ranch in the midvalley. They are following social distancing guidelines, wearing masks when necessary and taking other precautions to avoid the novel coronavirus.

They have a swimming pool and exercise equipment at their home, so they are able to stay healthy. Klaus said he swims every day and looks forward to getting out on the slopes later this season.

“And we’re looking forward to the time when this horrible disease is getting killed,” he said. “That will come eventually.”

For the first time in decades, Obermeyer isn’t reporting for daily duty at his company’s headquarters at the Airport Business Center.

However, he is still working every day from a home office. It’s a blessing that technology allows teams of workers to continue their work despite physical separation, he said.

“We’re operating the business. We did not have to let anybody go,” he said. “The people who work for us, some of them are working from home. We got them computers. Some come into the office.”

Like the rest of the world, he has adjusted to a world where business and even social gatherings are held via videoconferencing.

Klaus’s son Wally said his dad continues to set a good example by keeping a positive attitude and outlook on life. Wally said they were talking about the positive progress with the vaccines for COVID-19 and the prospects for getting past the pandemic.

However, now is not the time to ease up on precautions, Wally quoted Klaus as saying.

“He shared in German the expression, ‘Der Endspurt ist das allerwichtigste’, meaning the final sprint is the most important,” Wally said.

Klaus stressed a similar point in an interview on Monday.

“We need to be even more careful through the rest of the time of it,” he said.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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