Bert Naumann, longtime local, died Monday |

Bert Naumann, longtime local, died Monday

Marka Moser
Bert Naumann

Herbert Arno “Bert” Naumann, a longtime local who first came to the valley in 1967, died of cancer Monday morning. He was 78.Friends will gather at 2 p.m., Saturday, to celebrate Naumann’s life, with memories, photos and stories, at his cabin on Copper Spur Road.Naumann, a committed environmentalist, lived in a one-room cabin with no electricity or running water and used a wood stove for heat. Family members and friends described Naumann as a voracious reader, thinker and fine conversationalist who could communicate people from many walks of life.”Bert made everybody feel important,” said his wife, Jane Madore, whodescribed her husband as unassuming, an incredible athlete and an advisorabout life.”He was a real charmer who had a way of making any woman feel very special. When people found out he was ill, more than 100 people drove to the cabin to make sure he knew he had touched their lives. He was important to so many people in one way or another,” she said.Madore said Naumann received wonderful treatment from volunteers with Mountain Hospice and Home Health, “making it possible for him to be at home until the very end.”Born March 25, 1927 in Johnson City, Tenn., Naumann studied pre-forestry at Colorado State University and graduated with a bachelor of arts in economics from the University of New Hampshire, where he also did post-graduate work.Naumann worked as a range patrolman with the U.S. Forest Service and was a winter preservation guard for the Appalachian Trail Hut System. A licensed guide for the Wilderness Society, he was also a certified alpine and Nordic ski instructor. He worked as a senior biologist for the environmental unit of the Colorado Division of Highways. He also worked for the National Center for Alternative Technologies.Naumann first came to Vail when he was transferred from Oregon to Colorado by the U.S. Forest Service. He soon afterwards bought land in East Vail. After a transfer to Winter Park, Naumann resigned from the Forest Service and moved to Vail and built a house, making use of his electrical, plumbing and carpentry skills. He then started teaching skiing.Naumann opposed the construction of I-70 through wilderness west of Vail, but the work proceeded and cost him his home, which had to be moved to make way for the freeway. Naumann split the house in two and move it onto land along the Colorado River near Bond in western Eagle County. When Naumann’s first wife, Jean, met her husband more than 40 years ago, she said she was a city girl, but her way of life quickly changed.”Bert taught me to ski, backpack and turned me into a mountain girl,” she said. “He introduced me to jazz, philosophical conversations and millions of laughs during our 21 years of marriage. Jane has been a saint in her care of Bert.” An example of Naumann’s humor was telling friends he was “now working in the oil business” while pumping gasoline at Corky’s in Eagle, said close friend Dave Hathaway.”Bert’s a character who knew a little bit about everything – was intelligent and well read – but didn’t let that get in the way of having fun,” Hathaway adds. “Bert did things by his own rules on his own time.”The family suggests donations be made in Bert Naumann’s memory to Mountain Hospice.Vail, Colorado

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