Dwight Shellman, the visionary county commissioner died in March, at 77, of Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Shellman was best known for the visionary downzoning laws he passed as a Pitkin County commissioner with Joe Edwards and Michael Kinsley in the 1970s.
As a public servant, Shellman spearheaded Pitkin County’s caucus system, controlled growth through downzoning, helped write the county home rule charter, formed the local bus system, the Aspen employee housing and open space programs, among other initiatives that shaped the upper Roaring Fork Valley as we know it.
“What he did literally changed the way local government worked,” Kinsley said at Shellman’s memorial service in May.
Among his later achievements was establishing the Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge in east Texas. He successfully campaigned to save the lake — the largest body of water in Texas — with Don Henley, the Eagles singer and Woody Creeker. That conservation work earned Shellman the Citizen’s Service Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.