Telluride will best remember Schwarzkopf, who bought a home on Bridge Lane in the Ski Ranches in 1995, for participating in the town’s Fourth of July Parade, and for his high profile work as founder and honorary chairman of the Telluride Foundation.
“I am involved in many charities throughout the country and I am especially proud of my association with the Telluride Foundation,” he said in 2003, going on to praise Telluride “for its unparalleled beauty and preserved historic western heritage as well as the strong sense of community experienced by residents and guests. The Telluride Foundation supports and enriches the people and organizations that represent this wonderful place.”
Schwarzkopf cut the ribbon for the opening of Telluride Ski Resort’s 733-acre Prospect Bowl in 2002, which nearly doubled the size of open terrain on the mountain.
Schwarzkopf, who died from pneumonia, leaves behind a strong legacy of volunteer work, from his lifelong work as a conservationist to his co-founding, with Paul Newman, of Camp Boggy Creek, the year-round camp in Florida for children with chronic illnesses.
He was also on the advisory committee of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, honorary chair of the Tampa Children’s Home capital campaign, a member of the U.S. Military Cancer Institute and a national spokesperson for prostate cancer awareness (he was diagnosed with the disease in 1993).
Schwarzkopf, a West Point graduate like his father before him, lived in Iran in his youth, when his father was posted there at the Shah’s request for a post-World War II American military presence that would manage the Iranian police force.
While their parents lived in Tehran, Schwarzkopf and his two older sisters attended school in Geneva, where he developed a lifelong interest in art.
“Geneva has some wonderful art,” said Schwarzkopf, in an interview with The Watch in 2005, adding that he was profoundly affected by vacation tours of museums in Florence and Rome.
Over his military career, he made a point of visiting art museums throughout the world.
“I liked to surprise people,” Schwarzkopf said, back in the days of conducting military reviews in foreign countries, by inspecting the honor guard and then telling his hosts, “I would like to see a museum.”
Schwarzkopf campaigned for President George W. Bush in 2000, but voiced concerns about the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, saying he doubted victory would be as easy as the White House and Pentagon predicted.
“In the final analysis, I think we are behind schedule,” he told NBC in 2004, regarding Iraq. “I don’t think we counted on it turning into jihad,” he said.
In August 2005, the four-star general’s three-part collage, “Transition,” sold for $17,000 at the annual auction fundraiser for Telluride’s Ah Haa School, of which he was a loyal supporter. In the piece, Schwarzkopf incorporated the Chinese symbols for war and peace with the English words War, Chaos and Conflict at the bottom, and then, simply, Peace, hovering at the top.
“War is at the bottom,” Schwarzkopf observed, while working on his collage for the Ah Haa School Art Auction.
He then said, “We go from war into peace.”