Local Naumann remembered as environmentalist, character | VailDaily.com

Local Naumann remembered as environmentalist, character

J.K. Perry
NWS Bert Naumann PU 2-11

MCCOY – Hundreds found solace in the presence of Bert Naumann, whose life was spent in touch with the earth he perished from Monday after a months-long bout with brain cancer at the age of 78.Naumann – a former Vail instructor, Forest Service employee and environmentalist – moved with wife Jane Madore to a single-room cabin just outside McCoy in June, shortly before he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The cabin contains few modern amenities – there is no running water or electricity. Still, its remote location served as a respite from the busier valley in the remaining months of Naumann’s life.”We liked living like that,” Madore said. “We like the quiet and the coyotes and the mountain lions.”

Hundreds of friends took time to travel up Copper Spur Road to bring lunch for Naumann or chop wood for the heating stove while Madore taught at Eagle Valley Middle School. And during that time, friends shared their last conversations with a man they described as well-read and philosophical.”He was very politically astute and read a lot,” former wife Jean Naumann said, adding he often sent editorial letters to this paper.A gathering Saturday at Bert Naumann’s cabin served as a memorial, but in fact more closely resembled the celebration of a man who touched many hearts.

Bert Naumann gave Sharon True and her son – whose birthday coincided with Bert Naumann’s death – when she came to Vail.”He was awesome. I love Bert a lot,” True said.By all accounts from those gathered around the bonfire, tables of food and photographs, Naumann was remembered as a “character.”

“You can tell by the eclectic people here what kind of person he is,” Jean Naumann said.Working as an instructor for Vail many years ago, the director of the ski school forced Bert Naumann and other employees to buy their sweater uniforms, which beared the signature Vail logo.In protest, Bert Naumann removed the top portion of the emblem, leaving just the bottom portion, which looked like his signature logo – a pipe. Adding the smoky final touch, Bert Naumann sewed a white thread rising from the pipe.

“The director said ‘You can’t do that,’ ” friend Bob Gagne said. “Bert said ‘Yes I can, I bought it.”Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or jkperry@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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