Russell Bernard Hedman (1939-2018)
Russell Bernard Hedman, 78, passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by friends and family in Carbondale January 7, 2018, after fighting cancer.
He was born in Bakersfield, CA, in 1939, and attended University of California Berkeley during what he called the Beatnik years. His love for skiing brought him to Courchevel, where he embraced the French ski culture. When he landed in Aspen in the mid-’60s, he knew he was home.
Russell was a fine woodworker with beautiful deft hands that could build anything. He was deep and sensitive, tall and handsome, exacting and detail-oriented, with a tough and private exterior but a gentle and tender heart. He was a dedicated nurturing father, and endlessly proud of his daughter Julia.
Russell loved playing Old-Timey music on fiddle, guitar, and claw-hammer banjo. He reveled in being part of a tribe of soulful and talented musicians who flourished in Aspen from the late ’60s through the early ’80s. It was a magical time, never to be duplicated, when you could find cheap lodging, a decent job, and time to invite your friends over for good food, laughter, and lots of spontaneous music. Russell loved these homegrown pickin’ parties, and was still playing at the Sunday night bluegrass jams in Carbondale just months before he passed away.
In the end, Russell walked into his own death squarely and soberly… gracefully…choosing quality of life over quantity. Julia says that although she will miss him deeply, she will feel him in every ski turn, look for him in the mountains, and listen for him in that “high lonesome sound” of the music he loved.
Russell is survived by his daughter Julia Hedman and her partner Tony Prikryl, his former wife Janet Nelson, and sister Sandra Wilson. The family plans a private memorial.