Longtime Aspenite and beloved journalist Mary Eshbaugh Hayes passed away on Thursday, Jan. 22. She is a lifetime trustee of the Aspen Historical Society and a dear friend. She was 86.
Hayes moved to Aspen in 1952, joining the staff at the Aspen Times as a photographer and reporter. At a young age, she knew she wanted to report and take photographs. By age 17, she was a cub reporter at the Livingston County Reader in Geneseo, N.Y., before she attended Syracuse University, where she earned degrees in journalism and English. After a short stint in Denver, she moved to Aspen and soon after married Jim Hayes, an Aspenite renowned for his silversmith skills who died in 2012. Together, they had five children; she is survived by her daughters Jess Bates, Pauli Hayes, Elli Ford and Lauri Hayes; son Clayton; seven grandchildren; and a great grandson.
She is the author of several popular books about Aspen, including “Aspen Potpourri,” a 50-year overview on the families and characters that make up this unique town. It’s in its fifth edition, it has printed more than 12,000 copies, according to the Aspen Daily News. In 1996, she published “The Story of Aspen” in collaboration with cartoonist Chris Cassatt.
Though the former editor-in-chief and associate editor at the Aspen Times, Hayes is most recently known for her society column, “Around Aspen,” which ran in the Aspen Times Weekly for decades — and will continue through February as she planned photographs and stories through the month. Hayes was a fixture on the Aspen social and community scene, always at events to take pictures and talk with the people attending.
Thousands of her photos will be preserved in the Aspen Historical Society archives for future generations to enjoy. But, here we turn the camera on her to show off some of our favorite photos of Mary herself, all part of the Aspen Historical Society Collection.