If there were ever an example of a reciprocal relationship between a community and its residents, it would be Barbara and Peter Guy, whose contributions to Aspen have landed them in the Hall of Fame.
As longtime residents, volunteers and proprietors of the beloved Steak Pit restaurant, the Guys will be inducted into the Aspen Hall of Fame on Saturday evening.
“It’s really an honor to be on the list,” Peter said this week from their home in New Castle. “We’re honored and humbled.”
The couple moved to lower altitude and warmer climes after they sold the Steak Pit in 2002.
But they still host annual gatherings for longtime friends in Aspen who make the pilgrimage. The most popular is the “Peach Day/Salad Day” when close to 50 people show up.
While they built a solid family of employees over the decades at the Steak Pit, it is the Guys’ contributions to the community that have led them to be recognized.
“They were behind-the-scene volunteers who were off the radar,” said Lorna Petersen, president of the Aspen Hall of Fame.
Since the time they arrived in Aspen from the East Coast in 1960, the Guys have immersed themselves in volunteer and service work.
Peter served multiple terms on the Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Commission and was involved in drafting Pitkin County’s original master plan in 1966.
“When you get into something like that you’d like to think you are trying to help and make a difference,” Peter said. “I hope a lot of the master plan work stands out. … There is a lot of open space and viewplanes that were protected.”
He also was an Aspen School Board member for more than 20 years, and was involved in the beginning of the Aspen Chamber of Commerce visitors bureau and the Aspen Restaurant Association.
The parents of two children, Charlie and Cary, the couple became active volunteers with the Aspen Ski Club, especially on race days.
Peter did the racecourse timing and Barbara did fundraising.
“We had a lot of bake sales in the Buttermilk garage,” Barbara recalled.
She also served as the secretary at the Aspen Community Church and volunteered at the Thrift Shop.
Peter said when they arrived in town they thought it was Utopia.
“It was magic,” Peter said. “It was the people and the incredible beauty.”
It was a time in Aspen when everyone knew each other and it was a tight-knit community.
“Volunteering was just natural,” Peter said. “You gain one friend and then you’d have two more and everyone just helped each other.”
They created the first Project Graduation, which is an organized, adult-supervised and alcohol-free post-graduation party.
The Guys also joined other restaurateurs in feeding international ski racers when the World Cup arrived in Aspen in 1968.
They hosted those racers in their home and made sure they got to the hill on time.
Living in Massachusetts as a young couple with two children while Peter was getting his degree in geology at Williams College, they had never considered moving west.
But their friend Chuck Rolles called them one day and asked them to come help open a restaurant in Aspen.
“I call it serendipity,” Peter said. “Our timing was perfect. … We lucked out.”
It was the town, sense of community and the people who drove the Guys to want to participate in civic endeavors.
“I don’t know if we’d be doing the same thing in say Albany, New York, or Springfield, Massachusetts,” Peter said.
Peter, 83, and Barbara, 84, met in 1956 at Stowe, Vermont. Now they are celebrating 62 years of marriage.
And their volunteering hasn’t stopped just because they left Aspen.
Barbara volunteers for Lift Up and at health fairs. Peter serves on the board of Alpine Bank, youth hockey in Glenwood Springs and Hospice of the Valley.
They’ll attend Saturday evening’s banquet with family and a former international ski racer they hosted for years, along with a lot of friends and former Steak Pit employees who will be there to celebrate with them.
But don’t expect just because they made it into the Aspen Hall of Fame that Barbara will be sharing her coveted recipe for the famous homemade hot fudge she served up at the Steak Pit.
“That is something that will end up on the back of my memorial program,” she laughed.