Longtime Vail local dies in Intermountain
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – Luc Pols was visiting with his friend, Peter Franke, Wednesday afternoon just as they always did. They were talking and catching up.
Pols said Franke left his home around 5 p.m. Two hours later police and emergency vehicles were responding to a call in Intermountain where Franke had died.
Franke had traveled the world with Pols – taking three trips together to Asia and riding the Trans-Siberian Railway together. “When you travel with somebody, you really get to know them,” Pols said. “He was a very easy-going guy, always trying to please everybody.”
Franke’s family is devastated at the loss of their father – someone who not only loved everyone, but was loved by everyone, said Jim Kelley, Franke’s brother-in-law.
“He’d meet somebody he knew at every (ski) lift line,” Kelley said.
Franke moved to the United States from Germany. He met his wife, Patricia Kelley, in Denver before they moved to Vail to create the ideal American dream, said Brett Gagnon, Franke’s son-in-law.
“To find his way to Vail, Colorado in the mid-1970s and to be able to raise a family here is about as special as it gets,” Gagnon said. “I think a lot of people move to Vail to achieve the dreams Peter Franke achieved.”
He sacrificed so much to provide for his two daughters, Brittany and Brooke, and his loving wife, Patty, Gagnon said.
“He took his family on countless trips around the world to show his girls what life is all about,” he said.
Franke also loved to ski with his two daughters.
“He could ski from the mountaintop to the base faster than anyone when it was time for him to get back to work at Gasthof Gramshammer,” Gagnon said.
Franke worked as a chef at Pepi’s Restaurant, at Hotel Gasthof Gramshammer, for 27 years, said Sheika Gramshammer, the daughter of owners Pepi and Sheika Gramshammer.
“Our family is very saddened by this – very grief stricken,” she said. “We love his family and think about them. He was very much a part of our family. We loved him very much.”
Franke was always telling jokes, Gramshammer said. He was funny, loved life and lived it to the fullest, she said.
Gagnon added, “People came from all around the world not only taste Peter’s fine cuisine but to interact with one of the brightest, personable characters Vail will ever know.”
Wienerschnitzel and goulash were Franke’s signature dishes.
The Franke family is asking for respect and privacy as they get through the coming weeks. The family says the body will be cremated and a public memorial service will be announced sometime in the next few days.
Vail Police Commander Steve Wright said the department is still investigating the incident and couldn’t comment on what happened.
Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com