Peter Franke, 1945-2009, of Vail |

Peter Franke, 1945-2009, of Vail

Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyPeter Franke

Peter Franke was born in the Bavarian town Oberstdorf, Germany, on Feb. 6, 1945, to Hildegard and Rudi Franke. He passed away in Vail on Sept. 23, 2009, and is survived by his wife, Patty, and daughters, Brooke and Brittany. Peter is also survived by Brooke’s husband, Brett Gagnon, and Patty’s seven siblings, their spouses and children.

Peter attended chef school in Augsburg, Germany, and graduated first in his class. At the age of 20, he moved to Houston to work just one year at the Astrodome, but fell in love with the U.S. and made this his permanent home. Peter loved the mountains and used to drive to Vail from Texas nonstop to ski on his days off.

He moved to Colorado to work at Cherry Hills Country Club, the Petroleum Club, Sign of the Dove and Turn of the Century. At the A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming, he cherished the wild spirit of the West, still hoping to “meet cowboys and Indians.”

In 1974, Peter opened the Stapleton Plaza Hotel in Denver, where he met the love of his life, Patty. In 1975, he worked at the Marriott Mark Resort in Vail, but returned to Denver in 1976 to marry Patty. Peter was chef at Pepi’s Gasthof Gramshammer from 1980 until his retirement in 2006.

The Frankes made Vail their permanent home in 1980, where they raised their two beautiful daughters, Brooke and Brittany, his pride and joy. Even after living in the States for over four decades, Peter’s German accent was as strong as ever. Peter will be remembered for the love of his family, his wonderful sense of humor, an infinite arsenal of jokes, and his passions for sailing, mushroom-hunting and skiing.

Everyone could hear Peter whistling as he skied from the top of Vail Mountain all the way to Pepi’s porch. When Peter was not in character as the “Bridge Street Bandit” (as we lovingly referred to him), other adventures took him traveling all over the world. His passport was full: riding the Trans-Siberian Railroad through Russia and China, boating down the Mekong Delta in Laos and Cambodia, scuba diving in Egypt. Peter shared this love of travel with his family – playing on beaches in Mexico and touring with them on vacations to Germany.

Peter was well loved, a friend to everyone he met. Our family knows there are many Peter Franke stories to share. We hope you will honor our beloved husband and father by sharing your memories, stories and favorite Peter jokes. Please e-mail your submissions to Peter’s daughter, Brooke, at so his memory can live on in an album of tales.

Peter’s celebration of life will be held Saturday, Oct. 10 at 10:30 a.m. at the Vail Interfaith Chapel, with a reception at Pepi’s at 1 p.m. Please park in the Vail Village parking structure.

A memorial account has been set up for the Franke Family Benefit at 1st Bank in Vail. Donations may also be made to the Foresight (Blind) Skiers Program, PO Box 18944, Denver, CO 80218.

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