Fossett memorial: ‘Steve is on another adventure’ | VailDaily.com
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Fossett memorial: ‘Steve is on another adventure’

Ryan Soderlin, AP Photo/Salina JournalA memorial was held Thursday at Beaver Creek's Vilar Center for part-time resident and adventurer Steve Fossett, who disappeared during a flight in September.
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BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” John Kugler was convinced that it would just be another story for Steve Fossett to tell.

“I believed he’d soon be found walking in the mountains and having another great adventure to tell about,” said Kugler, a balloonist who flew with Fossett and became a close friend. “The boss told such great stories.”

Instead, six months later, it was Kugler who was telling the story of a man who was well known for his adventurous nature but also for his kindness, humility, persistence and generosity.

“His sense of adventure will continue to inspire and fuel our dreams,” Kugler said.

Many questions lingered following Steve Fossett’s disappearance last September. He was last seen taking off in his plane in Nevada for what was supposed to be a leisurely flight. For months, searchers scoured the wilderness looking for the part-time Beaver Creek resident. His body was never found, and Fossett was declared dead last month.

Thursday was a day to say good-bye to Fossett. A couple of hundred people gathered at Beaver Creek’s Vilar Center for the Arts at a memorial service for the millionaire adventurer. Fossett’s wife, Peggy, sat in the front row with family members.

Fossett holds 116 world records for endeavors in airplanes, balloons, sailboats and gliders. He swam across the English Channel, raced a car for 24 hours straight, did the Ironman Triathlon, skied from Aspen to Vail and completed the Iditarod dogsled race.

“Steve always had this twinkle in his eye when he shared his thoughts of his next adventure,” said fellow balloonist Tim Cole. “(Last summer) Steve said his adventures were not over. In my heart, Steve is on another adventure.”

In Eagle County, Fossett was a founding member of the Youth Foundation, a nonprofit that supports kids.

“It was all about the kids here in town that we wanted to help, and I will always be grateful for the kindness and generosity Steve Fossett showed this community,” said Kathy Brendza, former executive director of the Youth Foundation.

Fossett, an Eagle Scout, was also a supporter of the Boy Scouts, both locally and nationally.

Bobby Hernreich, a local developer and sports team owner, said his first memory of Hernreich ” when they were both in grad school at Washington University ” and his last ” at a fundraiser last summer ” were the same.

“An always upbeat, jovial, positive, energetic, generous, smiling man,” Hernreich said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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