Three generations of Aspen-Snowmass’ Stapleton family
When David Stapleton played on Aspen High’s first-ever football team in 1951, he and his five teammates would run from the Red Brick School campus up to the third floor of City Hall, where they changed into their sporting attire, and then to Wagner Park, where practice took place.
At the time, Cooper Avenue ran through the cinder-filled park, David recalled, so football practice meant barricading that section of the street.
While Aspen has experienced significant change in the six-plus decades since David’s high school days, at least one constant remains: the Stapleton family’s presence.
On Saturday morning about 25 members of the Stapleton clan gathered outside the Wheeler/Stallard House Museum — otherwise known as the Aspen Historical Society — to pose for a family photo that featured three generations.
Although a number of Stapletons still call Aspen or Snowmass home, others are visiting the valley this weekend, as the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame inducted David in Vail Saturday night.
The thought behind the family photo was simply, “Let’s take this opportunity that everyone will be together,” said Dean Stapleton, David’s son.
“I love the fact that everyone is so passionate about wanting to capture this moment.”
Dean, one of David and his wife Sigrid’s five children, believes the family owes it to their predecessors to honor the Stapleton’s rich history.
Timothy C. Stapleton homesteaded the area in 1881 — the same year Aspen was incorporated.
“I just wanted to give [my ancestors] the respect they deserve in acknowledging this,” Dean said. “It’s a unique situation in 2017 when they came here in 1881.”
David’s mother, Louvia Stapleton, grew up in the Wheeler/Stallard House as a child, making the location for the photo even more special.
“The Stapletons have been a key part of the community since the establishment of the town,” Aspen Historical Society curator Lisa Hancock said. “For us, it’s an honor to have them come and be on the property that was part of their family’s heritage.”
She added the Stapletons are among only a few Aspen families to maintain such a longstanding presence.
Community service and involvement are “one of the most important things” to the Stapleton family, David said.
“My whole family was involved in the community,” he said. “Everybody pretty much helped everyone out.”
David, who, at 21 or 22 was one of the youngest to be elected to the Aspen City Council, also volunteered with the fire department, Aspen Valley Hospital Board and all things skiing. His Colorado Ski Hall of Fame induction is an acknowledgment of his volunteer efforts, said Dean, who nominated his father.
Among Sigrid’s communal involvement included volunteering at the hospital for more than 25 years and playing the organ at St. Mary’s Catholic Church every Sunday for 40 years, according to David.
The Stapleton pair’s dedication to helping the community led to their 2008 induction into the Aspen Hall of Fame.
“One cannot think about Aspen without acknowledging David and Sigrid Stapleton,” their Hall of Fame inductee bio reads, “both of whom have spent a lifetime displaying and living the indomitable spirit that makes Aspen a place to be proud of.”
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