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RIP Stewy. Stewart Oksenhorn (1963-2014)

Childhood friends. The Boys from Jersey loved Stewy.Aspen lost a friend...and a good man.

Stewart Oksenhorn was one of the first people I met in Aspen.  We had a real world connection through a mutual friend, someone who he had grown up with in New Jersey.   Stewart was one of the nicest, purest, most gentle and most authentic people I've met in Aspen.  He obviously loved music, film, theatre and all the arts.  And I know he loved his daughter, Olivia more than anything, because he told me that.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Stewart worked his a$$ off for The Aspen Times.  The sheer volume of his writing was utterly impressive. The quality and the passion of his narratives spoke for themselves. 

Stewy was a great cat and a mellow cruiser. He always seemed so happy.  Stewy was kind of quiet and unassuming....but you could see the wheels turning behind his smiling eyes.  Obviously there was a lot going on up top.  We often ended up together shooting pix in the front row at Belly Up or in the photo pit at Jazz Aspen.  Stewy had the 411 on every band coming to Aspen and he was always willing to share that info.

I wish I would have been there with him on that fateful morning, so sunny and clear.  I would have grabbed him by the pony tail and held him back.  I would have given him a great big bear hug and squeezed him so tight.  I would have stood up there on that bridge and hashed it out with him.  I would have picked up that gnarly looking leather back pack of his and handed it to him and said "c'mon Stewy, let's go jam".  I would not have taken no for an answer.

I can't imagine what prompted Stewart.  What was going on inside his head?   Beyond the sorrow and grief and compassion for his family and friends, I have many unanswered questions.  Why?   What pushed Stewy to make his final decision?  Aspen has a suicide rate that is 3 times the national average. Why is that?   Why can't we, Aspen, as a town figure out a better way to help people in need?  I have no idea why Stewy was hurting so badly inside.  Why he was wired to take action.  But I do know that people around here loved him and will miss him greatly, especially his daughter.   His family and friends back East loved him passionately too.  

To me,  Stewy's choice is a tragedy that defies explanation. I can't get it out of my head.  I wish I could go back in time and help my brother out.  But I can't.  I'm only left with good memories about Stewy, a kind and gentle soul.  

Condolences to his friends and family.

Rest In Peace, Stewart Oksenhorn. 

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Reader Comments (2)

Andrew - I knew Stewart only as a fellow "local" Aspenite. But he was one of the good guys with a lot of talent and a huge heart who had a silent fan club of readers and supporters, some of whom he didn't even know. I only regret not knowing him as a friend as I'm sure he was a good one. His passion for music created a bond with me via his articles for The Aspen Times as well as seeing him at all of the local venues celebrating with so many of us who also live for music.

It hurts knowing someone as gifted, passionate and loving was also in so much pain. As many of us who love deeply and feel deeply, I only wish he had left a tiny opening for someone to reach him with a lifeline.....

You wrote so eloquently and please know how much it was appreciated even by someone who only knew Stewart from a distance. He must be at peace now. My own sense of what happens way too often in the magical and beautiful town of Aspen is troubling and each time it leaves me with a sense of some dark secret yet to be discovered. I too am haunted by the questions of why and how to prevent those awful statistics.

I've left Aspen after 7 years of full-time living and way more than 30 as a regular visitor....and yet the connections to all of those great local regular folks remains. I miss the mountains and the lifestyle but had to leave for many reasons. But the one I'm haunted by is a personal fear of ever being allowed to be deeply sad while living in such a gloriously beautiful place. It almost isn't allowed when surrounded by Aspen's "living the dream" rhetoric. It may not resonate with many but I found Aspen to be a tough place to admit any sense of deep unhappiness.

Whatever happens perhaps a dialogue can be opened to the broader community of Aspen to give someone else a chance for one of your bear hugs....I know there were times I could've used one but didn't know how to even ask. It tears me up knowing someone like Stewart Oksenhorn couldn't be heard by so many of the kind-hearted souls who live there.

Back in NYC...in my heart I will always keep a place for that glorious mountain town. Jo

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJo Silverman

thanks Jo. Aspen is a wonderful place...and for 22 years Stewy was doing his thing here. It's just so sad, there are no words for it.

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Party

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