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Archive for Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lawrence man, owner of Fatso’s, dies during hike in Grand Canyon

Owner Gavin Smith was found near a parking lot at the landmark.

September 30, 2010

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Gavin Smith with his wife Melissa with their son Liam. Smith’s body was found by one of his hiking companions Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010 at the Grand Canyon. Smith was the owner of Fatso’s, 1016 Mass.

Gavin Smith with his wife Melissa with their son Liam. Smith’s body was found by one of his hiking companions Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010 at the Grand Canyon. Smith was the owner of Fatso’s, 1016 Mass.

A 30-year-old Lawrence man has died while hiking in Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Gavin C. Smith’s body was found by one of his hiking companions late Tuesday afternoon. Smith was the owner of Fatso’s, 1016 Mass.

Initial indications are that his death was heat-related.

According to information from the National Park Service, Smith and four others were on a day hike. Smith hiked about halfway down the route on Tuesday morning and decided to wait for his companions to descend to a river and come back for him.

His body was found by one of his hiking companions late Tuesday afternoon, about 100 yards from a parking area where the route begins.

Smith and his companions were hiking along the Lava Falls Route of the national park, which is one of the park’s hottest, steepest routes, according to the park service.

On Thursday, as news of his death spread around the community, friends said they’ll miss the popular bar owner who was always easy to talk to.

“He just had one of those spirits that attracts people and made them feel at ease,” said Megan Poindexter, a friend of Smith’s.

Poindexter and Smith served as co-chairs of the Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network, and were also in the same Leadership Lawrence class.

She said Smith was both an adept businessman and a loving husband and father to his 2-year-old son.

“He was an amazing friend and always ready to give a listening ear to something serious or something comical in your life,” she said.

Danny Williams, another friend who used to own the Barrel House and the Phoggy Dog in Lawrence, said Smith was very smart and never afraid to try new things to increase business.

“He’s one guy who was always in a great mood and would do anything for anybody,” Williams said.

Smith was able to attract a number of friends and acquaintances that way, Williams said.

“He cared about everybody around him, but especially his family. ... Everybody’s just kind of in shock today,” Williams said. “His spirit will live on, for sure.”

Comments

labmonkey 3 years, 6 months ago

I am sorry to hear about Gavin's death. My thoughts are with his wife and son.

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Eileen Emmi Jones 3 years, 6 months ago

I have a memory that I am almost certain is of him. I was walking down Mass Street on a Friday night to meet my daughter who was turning 21. My young grandson was in tow. Someone was chalking a great big sign advertising a special at Fatso's. My grandson took interest in the chalk. The chalker took the time to help him make a "J" and gave him some chalk sticks to take home. I mentioned I'd tell my birthday-celebrating daughter about his club and he said "tell her to come in, I'll take care of her." He didn't have to be friendly; I wasn't in the age group to be a customer and neither was my toddler grandson. He was just outgoing, friendly and kind.

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Bob Kraxner 3 years, 6 months ago

Why is it that so many young people today, refuse to employ common sense? Such as, the art of hydrating the body, prior to, and during any intense outdoor activity, especially in temperatures above 60 degrees. Condolences to family, rest in peace, and vaya con Dios.

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The_Original_Bob 3 years, 6 months ago

I apologize, Gary. I didn't see what was removed and assumed somebody was ripping me. I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

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pjscpa2000 3 years, 6 months ago

Tears are in my eyes - working here at the rim brings its joys and its sadness every year... the canyon is beautiful but brutal. My thoughts are with the family and of course his dear hiking friends that will ,in no doubt, be impacted forever. May peace be with you .. A Volunteer in Park "friend".

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garyr 3 years, 6 months ago

I wasn't TOB, I was stressing your point, and had nothing but kind words for Mr. Smith. Speaking of how sad it is to lose a young businessman like this. It's sad that someone who has a future in Lawrence and a future in the business makeup of Lawrence has to be gone. What a promising young man. He has done and would have done a great deal for the Lawrence business community, economy, and future of Lawrence. You will be missed Gavin!! RIP

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The_Original_Bob 3 years, 6 months ago

Why was someone blasting me removed?

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The_Original_Bob 3 years, 6 months ago

"I miss JKealing."

I do to. This is getting silly. I rarely ever had a comment deleted by JK, maybe five a year, and Julie has yanked probably 30 of mine since she started.

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The_Original_Bob 3 years, 6 months ago

"I've heard that it is predominately the young and healthy that have trouble in the canyon, especially males."

This is true of most difficult outdoor things. I remember when I was invincible. Then I remember heaving my guts out halfway up out of the canyon on my fifth trip. A little oatmeal and water got me out of there, but I realized I was mortal that morning.

" If you want to be safe while visiting the canyon, bring a small child with you; no one has ever fallen off a cliff or died of heat or dehydration there while accompanied by a small child."

I see what you are saying, but you'd never bring a small child on a rim to river to rim trip. These guys were looking for a bonding experience by pushing themselves. Kids were never in the equation. I won't take my kid until he is at least twelve. I've noticed that age of kid is usually in better shape than the dad's and mom's that bring them down to the bottom.

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garyr 3 years, 6 months ago

I miss JKealing. Can you please tell me why my comments are getting removed? What part of the terms are they violating? I am not saying anything derogatory or offensive to Mr. Smith, or his family. It is a tragic, sad story and personally I love Fatso's!! Please let me know, so I can be aware of it next time I decide to comment on anything.

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garyr 3 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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MichaelC 3 years, 6 months ago

He made it half way down and then turned back. He was almost back to the top.

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garyr 3 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Clickker 3 years, 6 months ago

"I've heard that it is predominately the young and healthy that have trouble in the canyon, especially males. If you want to be safe while visiting the canyon, bring a small child with you; no one has ever fallen off a cliff or died of heat or dehydration there while accompanied by a small child."

I'm not really sure what you mean here?

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Chris Golledge 3 years, 6 months ago

I've heard that it is predominately the young and healthy that have trouble in the canyon, especially males. If you want to be safe while visiting the canyon, bring a small child with you; no one has ever fallen off a cliff or died of heat or dehydration there while accompanied by a small child.

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newleys917 3 years, 6 months ago

Gavin was a wonderful friend and he will be missed greatly. My thoughts are with his family.

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lawdog 3 years, 6 months ago

The Family of Mr. Smith certainly have my condolences.

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ksayswhat 3 years, 6 months ago

So, so, so, so sad. Gavin was a great person period.

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Kelly Johnson 3 years, 6 months ago

My sympathies to the family at this tragic time.

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ShaunyP 3 years, 6 months ago

I have known Gavin for 7 years and have worked with him and consider him a dear friend. I am so sorry for the loss and it was way too soon.

My prayers are with them.

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fancy80 3 years, 6 months ago

My thought and prayers are with his family and friends.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

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kshiker 3 years, 6 months ago

He was a great guy with a beautiful young family. My prayers go out to his friends and family.

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neolib 3 years, 6 months ago

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

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The_Original_Bob 3 years, 6 months ago

I have hiked the canyon six times. While not impossible, rim to river to rim hikes are a bitch. There are signs everywhere that say it is a bad idea. However, that doesn't apply here. He only made it halfway down. I wonder if something else was wrong with him. Beautiful, but dangerous place. I hope his family and friends are doing as well as then can now.

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Celeste 3 years, 6 months ago

I am a Lawrence native but live in the Phoenix area. We've been having some awfully hot weather lately. I read about this in the local paper, they didn't identify who it was though. I'm so sorry to hear it was a fellow Lawrence native. The Grand Canyon is beautiful but many people come out here without realizing how quickly things can deteriorate during a hike. My deepest condolences to the family and friends of this man. May he RIP. :(

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Michelle Fales 3 years, 6 months ago

Gavin was the nicest man ever. So happy when he was with his wife and son. You will be dearly missed by all your friends. RIP

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AnnaUndercover 3 years, 6 months ago

That is terrible. I'm so sorry. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and employees. Ask for help from the people around you--we want to be there for you.

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Ryan Neuhofel 3 years, 6 months ago

Terrible news. Will be in my prayers.

Having lived in Arizona for awhile and completed the rim-to-rim dayhike (and a physician training in wilderness medicine), the canyon can be a very deceiving environment. Firstly, it's basically an inverted mountain - many people get too deep without realizing they now have to hike up. Also, there are drastic temperature changes based on location in the canyon and time of day - my last hike there started at near 40F at north rim and was 110F 4 hrs later at the river. Even decent, young athletes can get into trouble quickly in wild terrain like that.

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kernal 3 years, 6 months ago

This happens every year out there. People, when you're in hot dry climates, please begin hydrating with water twenty-four hours before any physical activity and make sure you have plenty of water with you. I don't care if you're 16 or 40, it is absolutely necessary.

Condolences to the family, friends and co-workers.

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Soap 3 years, 6 months ago

I've worked for Gavin off and on since 2004.. We didn't always see eye-to-eye when it came to business affairs, but he was a great father, and that's what matters most..

RIP Gavin

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ChiHawkInKS 3 years, 6 months ago

Geeze that is horrible!!! Fatso's is also one of my favorite bars and was a go to spot when I was in school. Sad day.

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riverdrifter 3 years, 6 months ago

I've hiked the Lava Falls trail to the Colorado. It's very steep, descending ~2600 feet in less than a mile and a half. Not an easy hike at all.

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calieerin 3 years, 6 months ago

Gavin......we will miss him so much and are praying for the family and friends.

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thomgreen 3 years, 6 months ago

That is horrible, sincere condolences to the family.

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Number_1_Grandma 3 years, 6 months ago

How awful....prayers for the family.

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lily 3 years, 6 months ago

Prayers for his family. I am so sorry for your loss.

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TriSigmaKS 3 years, 6 months ago

Gavin will be dearly missed. We are thinking about his family. He was truly a great husband and father. What a great loss.

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rooster 3 years, 6 months ago

Gavin was a GREAT friend to all who knew him and will be missed.

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caseyKC 3 years, 6 months ago

Gavin was a great friend, great father, and great man. My heart is broken for his family.

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missmagoo 3 years, 6 months ago

How awful. Prayers for his family.

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