2014 Happy Trails

By on December 31, 2014
Jack Huyler

Jack Huyler

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – The new year began with the passing of a valley legend. Jack Huyler, 93, passed away in Ojai, California, on January 2, 2014. Huyler lived the early dude ranching life in Jackson Hole and later wrote about it in several popular books. “Black Jack” learned the ropes at the seminal Bear Paw Ranch where he eventually met his wife of 63 years, Margaret. The writer/wrangler later became a regular at the Hootenanny in Moose where he and his wife played and sang on a regular basis.

Leta Deveraux PHOTO: JAKE NICHOLS

Leta Deveraux PHOTO: JAKE NICHOLS

Another old-timer succumbed in May. Leta Grace Deveraux, who we featured in our “Centenarian Secret” story on April 2, 2013 (find it online at planetjh.com), made it to the ripe old age of 106 before passing on May 26. Deveraux remained lucid and witty right up until the end.

Yet another longtime Jackson Hole resident left us in 2014. Rancher and businessman Ralph Gill died in August at the age of 84. The former mayor of Jackson and accountant was a fixture in Teton County for decades.

Deaths of a more unexpected nature included Bev Halpin, 55, who passed away at her home on December 12, 2013. Her January memorial service was packed, indicative of the many lives she touched during her time as owner/operator of Lost Creek Ranch.

Walt Farmer

Walt Farmer

Walt Farmer also died shortly after the new year began. The 67-year-old Astro Cowboy founded the Jackson Hole Astronomy Club and was an active member of American Legion Post 43 for more than 12 years. He also was the unofficial expert on film and video shot in Wyoming, specifically in the Jackson Hole region.

Two young ladies were killed while outside of the valley. Wilson resident Karen Colclough, 37, was found robbed and strangled to death in April while on a church-sponsored mission trip to Nicaragua. Colclough was traveling with five other mission members on a trip organized by Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole and Agros International when she went missing. Her body was found near her hotel. Fernando Antonio Aburto, 35, was later arrested for the murder after he sold a camera belonging to Colclough for $27.

Alicia Cipicchio

Alicia Cipicchio

Alicia Cipicchio was killed in Nevada while attending Burning Man in August. The 29-year-old Jackson woman was struck by a bus shuttle at the annual festival that draws upwards of 70,000 attendees for the weeklong event. Cipicchio was an artist employed at RARE Gallery of Fine Art in Jackson.

Peiter Swanson, 31, skied into a tree on Pair-a-Chutes in April, killing himself almost instantly. The part-time resident was spending his first winter season in Jackson Hole but had already touched many in the short time he was here.

An avalanche on Togwotee Pass claimed the life of Tyler Tourtellott of Osage, Iowa. The 26-year-old was buried when his sled became stuck and a friend circled higher to come to his aid, triggering the slide.

Other notable departures from the Hole of a more terrestrial nature included several well-known residents who decided to move on in 2014. Rev. Paul Hayden announced to Planet Jackson Hole he would be leaving the Presbyterian Church in Jackson Hole in March. Our lengthy interview with the 2010 Citizen of the Year winner was insightful and bittersweet. Steve Foster vacated his position as county administrator in June after five years at the position. Municipal judge Tom Jordan left the bench in spring. His departure was followed by Mike Welch bolting from his Pathways ED post and George Poore exiting the hospital board. Undersheriff Bob Gilliam retired from the force while Angus Thuermer left the News&Guide after a decades-long run as editor.

 

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