A part-time Aspen resident who died Tuesday was identified Wednesday as Norbert Zuckerman, a philanthropist who was a large benefactor to the Aspen Animal Shelter.
A maid found Zuckerman, 66, in his home in the 900 block of West Francis Street, where he was pronounced dead, said Eric Hansen, Pitkin County deputy coroner.
Zuckerman likely died Tuesday afternoon. The cause of death had not been yet established Wednesday, though nothing suspicious was found, Hansen said. An autopsy was planned Wednesday.
Seth Sachson, director of the Aspen Animal Shelter, said Zuckerman, known as Norbie, was a “great guy” who loved his chocolate lab, Charlie.
“We loved Norbie,” he said. “When he would go skiing, he’d bring Charlie to doggie day care, and that’s how I got to know him.”
Originally from Franklin, Mich., Zuckerman was the son of the late Paul Zuckerman, an industrialist who made a fortune through his creation of Velvet peanut butter.
Like his father, Norbie Zuckerman was a philanthropist who gave money to, among other causes, the Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter, the shelter’s nonprofit operator.
“He loved to support our organization,” Sachson said. “We put Charlie on the cover of our pet calendar in years past.”
Sachson said he knew Zuckerman for about eight years and considered him a friend.
Andy Israel of Aspen also said he considered Zuckerman a friend. He said he saw him just two days before his death and was shocked by the news.
Israel said he came to know him because they were both from Franklin, outside of Detroit.
“Norbie was a really a nice guy,” he said. “Everybody liked him. And he loved his dog, that is for sure.”
When he wasn’t in Aspen, Zuckerman spent time in Florida and his native Michigan, Israel said.
The Detroit News quoted Zuckerman in 2009 when the Velvet brand was making a comeback.
“It’s a great product,” he told the paper. “We think it’s great for Detroit.”
Sachson said he has been in touch with Zuckerman’s family and that he assured them that a “fantastic” home can be found for Charlie.