November 29, 2004

Mountain town relishes ties to Ebersols

Wendy Brooks saw Dick Ebersol and his son Charlie being wheeled into St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction on television after a friend called to say the two had been in a plane crash.

Brooks, founding director of Telluride Academy, was horrified that the two had been seriously hurt Sunday.

"They've been flying out of Telluride forever and ever," she said. "It was a great ski weekend. They probably had a great time. We considered ourselves lucky. It's too bad that it ended so tragic."

Ebersol and his wife, Susan St. James, are trustees of Telluride Academy, a prestigious summer program featuring outdoor activities for kids.

St. James and Ebersol have a home in Telluride, and their three sons, Charlie, Teddy and Willy, have all attended the academy. St. James also has a son, Harmony Lucas, and a daughter, Sunshine Lucas, from a previous marriage.

Since the late 1980s, Ebersol and St. James have contributed thousands to the school, Brooks said.

They became trustees about five years ago and are contributing to an endowment so the school can continue to function for another 25 years, she said.

"In the early days, there was not a lot going on in Telluride, and he and Susan were very appreciative of the academy," Brooks said. "We're all just pushing for them, and that is all we can do."

Ebersol and his family have been coming to Telluride for the past 20 years.

"They are so well liked here, and they've been generous," she said.

She said Charlie Ebersol, who attends the University of Notre Dame, attended Telluride Academy for seven summers.

When Dick Ebersol had a quadruple bypass a few years ago, the family didn't come to Telluride as often because the altitude affected his health, Brooks said.

"But he's always been a very active supporter," she said.

Ebersol and St. James are also listed as donors to the Telluride Foundation, an organization that promotes philanthropy within the community. St. James sits on the organization's board of directors, according to the foundation website.

"Dick and Susan have been very generous and are well-known around the community," said Paul Major, president of the Telluride Foundation. "Dick is an avid skier and snowboarder, and he's spent a lot of time here."

Earlier this year, the couple was under contract to buy an $11.9 million ski home in Telluride from Myron Ullman, a former chairman and chief operating officer of R.H. Macy & Co.

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