Recently, Steamboat lost a great person. Long-time resident Bill Alberts, or "Albe," as he was known to friends, passed away. Albe came to Steamboat in 1972 for a short vacation before law school. After a few weeks in town, he called home to tell his parents he was going to try to get a job in Steamboat for the winter and defer law school for one year. His parents told him he was crazy to put off law school, that he'd never find a job and that he'd be back in two weeks. He ended up staying for life.
I've been Albe's roommate for five years and his friend for much, much longer. To me, Albe and Steamboat are seamlessly intertwined. Lots of places have great skiing and mountain biking, but what has always made Steamboat special for me is the people. There might be steeper places to ski or more technical places to ride, but I traveled the world and have yet to find a place I'd rather be than Steamboat, thanks to the people, especially people like Albe.
In all the years we spent together in town, it was impossible to go anywhere with him without someone stopping to say 'hi.' It seemed as though Albe knew everyone and everyone knew him, yet I never heard anyone say a bad word about him or vice versa. Albe was one of those rare people who seemed to have something nice to say about everyone.
Knowing Albe also made me a better person. His unflappable ability to find the positive in any situation rubbed off on everyone he met, and spending time with him has made me a better friend, boss, husband and, most importantly, a better person. In a time when there seems to be far too little kindness in the world, Albe was a shining example of turning the other cheek, loving thy neighbor and doing unto others.
There are many important things that I've learned from Albe that I'll never forget, but what I'd like to remember most is his incredible spirit of caring, kindness and joy. I'll never be able to pay him back for everything he gave me, but I'm going to try to pass along what I learned from him. He was a very special person and a great friend who will be greatly missed.