Marta Jean Steinmetz (April 8, 1935 — March 16, 2018)
Marta Jean Steinmetz was born April 8, 1935, in Detroit, Michigan, to Theodore Steinmetz, an engineer from Germany, and Martha Steele Steinmetz, originally from West Virginia. Marta, an only child, travelled extensively with her parents to Europe and South America, but ultimately moved to Colorado as a young adult in the 1950s. She lived and attended school in Boulder, but the mountains called to her. In the late 1950s, after visiting Aspen and attending the Aspen Music Festival, she moved to Aspen full time where she would live for the next 58 years. In 1961 Marta purchased a 2-acre parcel of real estate on the banks of Conundrum Creek for $4,000. She set up her tent, moved in and began the process of building a rustic cabin around the A-frame tent structure she inhabited. Over the years, Marta designed and built numerous other structures, including what would become her primary residence that she would share with many, many roommates over the years. Marta may best be remembered for providing “affordable” housing each season to the young people that flocked to Aspen to work and ski, decades before “APCHA” was conceived.
Marta was a rebel at heart, and as Pitkin County evolved and began to cast scrutiny on the residential situation out on Conundrum Road, Marta did everything in her power to avoid and evade county inspections. She continued to build and construct her world, and without any assistance purchased adjacent properties, leased them and adjudicated water rights through the court system for irrigation and piscatorial purposes, all while working various jobs, including waitressing at the Red Onion and as a Civil Deputy for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department.
Marta became an ordained minister and enjoyed nothing more than performing marriage ceremonies on the banks of Conundrum Creek or wherever the bride and groom might desire. She respected the tenets of Buddhism and frequently sponsored blessings by Buddhist monks visiting Aspen.
In 2015, after selling her three parcels on Conundrum Creek, she moved to Glenwood Springs and at age 80 began an extensive remodel of the home previously occupied by her parents. The remodel was an amazing feat, and once completed, Marta once again offered rooms in her home at affordable rates to grateful roommates. Marta left this world for the next on March 16, 2018, after a short illness involving altitude, oxygen and atmosphere. She is survived by her dog Lily, her cat Kitty and hundreds of friends and former roommates. A memorial service will be held at Aspen Highlands in early July at the top of “Marta’s Chute,” formerly known as Highland City Chute. Please text “Marta” to 970-618-3763 to receive details in June.
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