Shirley Sinclair Ambridge passed away at her home in Basalt on the evening of Tuesday, September 4, 2001. For those who knew her there is a great loss in their lives and for those who didn't know her, the loss is even greater.
Shirley came to Aspen in the mid-'60s from Canada where she was born, schooled and completed her degree in finance at Magill University. After a brief stint as a stockbroker in Montreal, where her gender wasn't compatible with corporate ways, she left her homeland and never looked back.
Shirley loved Aspen, the community, the culture, the mountains. The mountains drew her to Aspen and kept her there for almost 40 years. Through the '70s she lived in what she called Shady Lane Fountain Court on the East Side of town until she moved into the home she bought on Park Avenue. She later remodeled that home to accommodate her office, sold it and moved down-valley to Basalt in the mid-'90s.
In the early days, she was one of the principal buyers for Ellie's of Aspen, owned by Ellie Iselin, wife of Aspen pioneer Fred Iselin. After leaving Ellie's she joined the Steak Pit family and at the same time managed to leverage the knowledge she gleaned from Ellie to develop a successful business representing such ski apparel brands as Postcard, Maser and Belfe.
She was one of Aspen's original party Divas and the quintessential renaissance woman. In her soul, Shirley was truly an artist. Her genteel English breeding manifested through an ever-so-ladylike love of gardening, decorating and, of course, hosting parties. Her femininity and interests in music, travel and art were balanced with an athletic prowess that rivaled any man's on Aspen Mountain.
She traveled the world over for the sports she loved. . . scuba diving, hiking, skiing . . . and just to sample diverse cultures. Her summer visits to Savory Island in Canada for family vacations where she could be near her nieces and nephews were among the times she cherished.
Shirley embraced everything in life with passion and was a deeply devoted friend to many. Even in recent years, her great spirit was reflected in the quality and character of her caregivers who were with her until her final moments when Shirley's life as we knew it ended from complications of a long illness (PSP).
The many happy times shared by all who knew her will never be forgotten. Her spirit will always be present in our lives. Shirley is survived by two sisters Janet (Scott) and Charlotte, both of Toronto, Canada and many beloved nieces and nephews. Her sister Cicely preceded her in death.
In celebration of her life, friends were invited to gather at her home on September 25, 2001 at 6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Sopris Equine Therapy, 5372 C.R. 100 Road, Carbondale, Colorado 81623.
~ Penelope Bijoux
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