Letter to the Editor - Marilee Spatz


Where do I begin? How do I hone in on the 30+ years that I have known Skippy like no one else can? How do I narrow down countless stories, life cycle events, cherished memories, and the joy and support Skippy has brought to our family as well as to so many people that he has touched worldwide?  One of the most important contributions I have made to our planet is SKIPPY!  I am his immensely proud, loving, supportive mom.

For me, character speaks volumes. From birth forward I have watched Skippy 's character grow and shape the remarkable gentleman he is today. Let's start from Day One. Uncertain if I was actually in Labor I presented myself to the hospital to inquire. It was November 30, Skippy's Due Date, 6:30 p.m.  Skippy was born thirty-five minutes later!  After all, it was his Due Date!  Skippy has continued to be PUNCTUAL, DETERMINED, and READY FOR LIFE.

At 13 months old, Skippy received a pair of plastic strap-on skis that youngsters can wear with their Sorel boots. (He decked them out with cool stickers - no surprise to anyone that knows him). Every morning Skippy would bounce down to his grandparents living room in Snowmass. He would walk around inside the house daily until it warmed up a bit outside and he convinced me and his Aunt that it was time for real skiing on Fanny Hill, and so his ski career began at 15 months old. He was a natural. The following season he would ski regularly with his family or the Snowmass Snow Bunnies. Skippy continues to be PERSUASIVE, CONFIDENT, with an ENORMOUS DESIRE TO LEARN

Around age 2, we began seeing how PERSONABLE, OUTGOING, FRIENDLY, and  SELF-ASSURED our young lad was becoming. We traveled frequently. Whenever boarding an airplane Skippy would walk ahead of me greeting each seated passenger on both sides of the aisle. He would extend his tiny hand, with a large, warm smile and say, "Hi, I'm Skippy!"  You can imagine the surprise and comments. Most were "you have a future politician on your hands!"  Right again!!

By age 3 or 4, Skippy heard about the Annual Community Big Wheel Race. Entirely on his own, he set up a training plan. We lived about a mile from town and a park we played at regularly. His plan called for daily 2-fers. Each morning he would ride his Big Wheel to town, we would play in the park, and he would ride the mile back home as fast has his little legs could go. After lunch he would nap, wake up and we would repeat his morning workout routine. This went on until the race in June when a large parking lot was cleared, a detailed race course was set up, and Skippy swept 1st Place across the finish line.  SELF MOTIVATION, WINNING DESIRES, SELF PLANNER have continued through today.

By age 5 or 6, Skippy's assembly of a Life Bucket List began. Goals to accomplish. Places to visit. Things to be learned. Friends to be made. People he wanted to know better.  Cars he liked.  Jobs he thought he may like to do.  Pets he desired. This bucket list has had hundreds of checks of completion. The list still exists today with larger dreams that will also earn checks of completion and space for a long life of future goals.

In Lower School COMMUNITY, DIVERSITY, LOYALTY, FAMILY, ACADEMICS, ATHLETICS & GIVING BACK were stressed. At home and school, taking care of your community and the world was a constant conversation. Skippy has learned this well. He deeply cares about ALL people, the environment, the present AND future of Aspen and the extending valley. "Work Hard, Play Hard, and Be a Mench!" was the closing of the Head of School's announcements every morning for grades K-8. A good motto to live by. Skippy is it's poster guy.

A strong, supportive FAMILY has always been present and is still present.  While growing up in suburban Chicago there were large dinners every Sunday with 4 grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and great aunt. Eventually, brother in laws and nephews too. Skippy's parents never missed a game or event.  His extended family often attended as well. Within the family Skippy has many special relationships though an incredibly close relationship with his grandfather, Arthur Upton (my father).  From birth they were a Team. Almost daily his Grandfather would pat Skippy's head and say "Me boy, me pride, me joy!"  Their fun and adventures numerous. Unfortunately, over the years Parkinson's Disease became more and more obvious. Skippy learned COMPASSION, PATIENCE, LOYALTY, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, and STRENGTH. In the end Skippy would not leave his grandfather's side as he fell into a coma and until he passed on. It was weeks that Skippy refused to do anything (including school) but lay in the ICU bed with his grandfather. This is exactly who Skippy is. He does NOT GIVE IN. He will STAND BY YOU. He FOLLOWS THROUGH.

Middle School and High School showed more examples of school involvement balanced with extracurriculars, many friends, and family. Skippy excelled in academics and sports because he cared to fully give his all. He would find coaches or experts to help him reach a better self. He would research for a myriad of specialty camps to attend from aggressive skating to NASA, football to lacrosse, and so on. Many of his closest friends were not as athletic, even so, Skippy found a way to maintain those friendships while elsewhere. He was often a Team Captain.  PRO-ACTIVE, COMPETITIVE, AMBITIOUS, ACHIEVER, LEADERSHIP.

Again looking to the future, Skippy acquired his PSIA, Level 1 accreditation by age 15 in our then-neighboring state of Wisconsin. Immediately after turning 16 (at the beginning of ski season) he would drive up to Wisconsin at 5am on Saturday morning to teach skiing every Saturday, Saturday night, and Sunday. He would make the 150 mile return trip home every Sunday evening.  Ultimately, he graduated high school early to arrive in Aspen by mid-December to teach for the Ski Co and reside in the Club Commons.  DETERMINATION, GRIT, FORWARD PLANNING, SELF SUFFICIENT,  and LOVE OF ASPEN!!

Next stop, University of Colorado - Boulder to Captain the Extreme Ski Team. Betcha you didn't know that Skippy earned the National Skier Cross Champion title while there? Or that he graduated in 2.5 years because he had his eye on his next accomplishment?  A degree in Communications, check!

Skippy has best prepared himself to earn YOUR VOTE. He is readily available to you. He wants to hear from you. He wants to meet with you. He wants to know what matters to you and why. He asks that you call him on his cell at 847-530-0811. I suggest you check out his Facebook at Skippy for Council for full transparency and constant updates. His email: Skippy for council.com  He will always give 150% because that is how he does everything. He has an unusual ability and gift to work with all people in finding the best answers and new answers. His chronologic age is deceiving when compared to that of his intellectual age and older soul. His inner compass and vast worldly travel and experiences aid him in ways that nothing else can compare.

As I live in Snowmass and am not able to vote I wholeheartedly urge you to vote, and vote for SKIPPY for COUNCIL.

Most sincerely,

Marilee Upton-Spatz

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