Aspen entrepreneur and cultural commentator

Passing Date: 
Monday, April 8, 2013

Kenneth Moore, a longtime Aspenite and entrepreneur with a colorful and complex sense of humor, died on April 8, 2013, at his home in Santa Barbara, California. He was 92.

In the mid-1950s, Moore built a three-story structure at the base of Aspen Mountain that became the Tipple Inn, Copper Kettle restaurant and Tippler bar. He served on the Aspen City Council for 18 months in 1962–63; in the mid-1970s, he mounted an unsuccessful run for Pitkin County sheriff.

One of his three daughters, Linda Moore Conger, recalled that Moore wrote a weekly column in the Aspen Times titled "The Devil's Advocate." He would mine content from Aesop's fables and Bible stories, substituting local residents for the original names in the stories. "He delighted in being cryptic, and pretending others were imbeciles because they couldn't follow his reasoning," Conger said.

When Moore ran for sheriff, Times owner Bil Dunaway told him he couldn't publish the column anymore because it gave him an unfair advantage, according to Conger. "This caused a rift between them that never really healed," she said. He became a prolific letter-writer after the cancellation of his column. Among avid Aspen newspaper readers, Moore always will be linked to the phrase "Be brave, comrades," which was his closing in most of his letters. He signed letters with the initials of his full name, Kenneth Neville Charles Blythe Moore (KNCB). He embraced Walter Paepcke’s ideas of “Body, Mind and Spirit” and had high expectations for the Aspen community that he often felt were not met.

Moore was born in 1921 in England. His family moved to the United States and he grew up on the East Coast. He attended Williams College in Massachusetts and gained U.S. citizenship when he was 21.

He married his wife, Betty, in 1947. They first visited Aspen on the way to Sun Valley, Idaho, in 1952 and fell in love with it, according to another daughter, Pam Moore. They moved to Aspen full-time in 1956, buying an old Victorian in the West End for $9,000. That same year, he also bought a few acres at the base of Little Nell for back taxes, with remnants of an old ore tram building. While working as a ski instructor, he and Betty built and expanded the Tipple Inn; it was one of Aspen’s first ski-in, ski-out lodges and a thriving business.

After selling the inn in 1964, Ken and Betty bought 16 acres in White Horse Springs and built a legendary family home, “Gully’s End,” out of salvaged ore bin timber and rocks. The passive solar house, with its spacious indoor atrium, was a gathering place for friends and Aspen luminaries.

Betty Moore, Ken’s wife of 65 years, died in 2012. He is survived by his daughters, Pam Moore, Linda Moore Conger and Valery Kelly; and his grandchildren, Chloe Conger; Keegan and Stella Doble; and Wren and Daisy Kelly. (Sources: Linda Moore Conger, Andre Salvail / Aspen Times)

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