– November 30, 2021
A member of one of Aspen’s oldest pioneer families, Judith Hope Slaughter Gerbaz, passed away November 30th, 2021 at her home on the Gerbaz Ranch.
Born to Eula Bessie Snyder and Donald Slaughter in Minneapolis, Kansas and spent her younger years in her mother’s home town of Alva, Oklahoma. When she was 13, she and her mother ventured to Aspen to visit long-time Aspen family, Nona and Eddie Vaughn, and their children Roberta, June and Max.
Judy begged her mother to stay for the winter so she could learn to ski, and as happens to many who come just for a visit, Judy and her mother did stay, for the rest of their lives.
Judy enrolled in Aspen High, but before her senior year, she met local rancher Jerry Gerbaz at a local dance, and it was love at first sight. They were married June 14th, 1958 and a year later their first child was born. Judy had promised her mother she would graduate from high school, so after the birth of her 4th child, she went back to school and received her high school diploma in 1968.
Marrying into a tight-knit Italian family was not necessarily recommended for young women of the day, but Judy’s bright personality, caring attitude and ability to get along with her new family brought a close relationship that was impeccable. She and her sister-in-law, Dolores Stutsman, became life-long best friends,
In 1960, Judy and her husband Jerry, along with Dick and Dolores Stutsman formed Stutsman-Gerbaz Earthmoving, which became a very successful family business still flourishing under the ownership of Dick and Dolores’ grandson, Shay.
In 1962, Judy and Jerry built their house on the Gerbaz Ranch, where they’ve lived ever since.
In addition to her family and friends, Judy loved flowers and gardening, but her real passion was dancing and music. Judy and Jerry danced in the early dance halls of Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale, on cruise ships, at their club house in the desert. Anywhere they could dance, they did. Their favorite was Sam’s Town in Vegas where they had live country music 5 nights a week and Sunday afternoons. Why, they even waltzed across Texas!
They traveled to many concerts of old-time classic country singers, lots of theater performances and even a little opera.
Judy was preceded in death by her mother Eula, mother-in-law Eva Gerbaz and father-in-law Mike Gerbaz, who filled in gracefully as her real dad. Also sister- and brother-in-law, Dick and Dolores Stutsman.
She is survived by son Mike Gerbaz, his daughters Vanessa, Ashlyn and son Marcus.
Son Greg (Barbara) and son and daughter-in-law, Jeff (Sally) Gerbaz.
Son Jeff Gerbaz (Rhonda), their daughters Robyn and Jerrilyn, her husband Eric Conn and their 3 sons, Benjamin, Martyn and Walter.
Daughter Gina, their little Angel from Heaven, her husband Kirk Cheney, son Parker and daughter Delaney.
Jerry’s brother Douglas; and Dick and Dolores Stutsman’s children Richard, David, Julie and Lisa.
As Jerry said, “Judy was cremated. When I die, our ashes will be mingled and tossed into the wind off the cliffs behind our house overlooking the Gerbaz Ranch, the Roaring Fork River, and the beautiful Roaring Fork Valley.”<…….