A Journalist Beloved by Hunter S. Thompson

Former Aspen Times managing editor and columnist Peggy Clifford was 87

In addition to her years at the Aspen Times, Peggy Clifford made TV documentaries and wrote books. Today, in paying tribute to Clifford, who passed away earlier this month at age 87, the paper’s managing editor Rick Carroll revisits the introduction to one of those tomes.

And who can blame him? We should all be so lucky to have this kind of banked eulogy:

“She wrote one of the most intelligent columns in the history of American journalism,” wrote the late maverick journalist Hunter S. Thompson in an introduction to To Aspen and Back. “Her collected columns on Aspen would be a real saga, a million words or more. No one did what she did. Nobody else wrote with the consistency, the genuine love for the valley that she did. Other people might have felt it, but she said it.”

Clifford left Aspen in 1979 and after a decade in Philadelphia, wound up in Southern California. A neighbor told Carroll she was an avid online reader, right up until the end, of both the Los Angeles and New York Times.

And as the founder of several Santa Monica outlets, she remained active in those pages in her later years. Clifford’s Santa Monica Dispatch posts are a lively way to remember her. Check out the beginning of this one, written in 2014:

I first witnessed the thoroughly vile and barbaric practice of “outsourcing” jobs in Santa Monica in the early 1990s.

The Santa Monica Pier was swept clean, polished and shined every day by a middle-aged woman and her nephew. They had lived in Santa Monica all their lives, and they loved the pier and took great pride in their work. But, without warning or explanation, the city fired them.


Jacket cover courtesy: St. Martin’s Press

Previously on Fishbowl:
Hunter S. Thompson’s Son Wishes Dad Was Still Around to Cover Trump