Obituary: Marijke Brofos
Vail pioneer and long time local Marijke Brofos passed away peacefully June 5th, 2020 under hospice care in Grand Junction, Colorado. Her son, Erik and his fiancé Joelle Hill were at her side.
Marijke was born in Wassenaar, the Netherlands on August 10, 1928. Her childhood was uneventful until 1940 when the Netherlands was invaded and occupied during WW II. This led to being forced into the cellar of the family home and at times subsiding on beets and tulip bulbs for food. Many children did not survive this time but Marijke found her way thru it and came out with a strong survival sense, this would help her in later years when Vail was in its infancy and those skills were needed for this new survival. As the war ended in 1945 the family was able to move back into their house and Marijke, now in her later teens, went to Paris to study at the famed Sorbonne University and became proficient in French. When her studies were over she returned to The Hague where she worked for the Dutch government in the highly classified code room. During this time she met a Norwegian-American, Francis Brofos, who was working with the Marshall Plan, a successful program to help Western Europe recover from World War II. The two married in 1953 and sailed off aboard the Queen Mary to a new life in America. Upon arriving Marijke gained citizenship through Francis’ government status. Early work in Washington D.C. and New York City made the couple aware of their love for mountains, thus they moved to N. Conway, N.H. And began working at Carrol Reed Ski Shop. This would be the connection to Vail when Vail was in its early years. Dick Hauserman was searching for a couple to manage one of Vails first ski shops, Vail Blanche, and so off to the west Marijke and family went. After several years of management the Brofos’s took over ownership. Divorcing in 1972 Marijke went on to manage the Willows and Riva Ridge South condominiums and her passion for guest service came to bloom. During her years in Vail Marijke was known for taking in new foreigners (mostly Europeans) the minute they set foot in town. As an excellent cook, her infamous dinner parties kept everyone fed well and helped them transition to being Vail locals. These connections would be the founding of her social life for years to come. What a life Marijke would have in her later years as these people would keep her young beyond her years. To those that knew her well she was fondly called the ‘Bat’, a term she would later display in the form of a golden bat necklace in place of the widely known Golden Bear. Marijke wished that all that knew her use humor in describing her life. Marijke is survived by her son, Erik of Vail and his partner Joelle Hill, Marijke’s granddaughter Whitney Rae Brofos of Edwards. She is preceded in death by her husband Francis, her brothers William, and Robert as well as sisters Rosine and Zus.
Several small celebrations of life will take place and continue as she would have wanted. In lieu of flowers donations to Hope West Hospice where she received amazing care in the final months are requested. Donations can be made via their website http://www.hopewest.org or mailed to 3090 N. 12th St., Grand Junction Co 81506 payable to Hope West.