Saturday, October 21, 2006

Steam Boat Pilot and Today: Hunter's Heart Failed

Michael Wayne Fanaris was a loving man who cared deeply about his children, lived to succeed and was passionate about hunting.

Fanaris, 42, of Champlin, Minn., died Monday morning while hunting in a remote area of California Park north of Hayden.

Routt County Deputy Co­­roner Mitch Locke said Fanaris died from heart failure. He does not believe Fanaris had any pre-existing medical conditions. Autopsy and toxicology results did not show any drugs or alcohol in Fanaris’ system at the time of his death, Locke said Friday.

Fanaris’ death most likely was due to the altitude, he said.

Kurt Schiebel, a longtime friend from Minnesota, said he remembers Fanaris as extremely hard working and a loving father to his three children.

“He loved those kids more than anything else,” he said. “He was a very driven man who wanted to succeed at everything he did. His most recent accomplishment was receiving his pilot’s license.”

Schiebel met Fanaris 20 years ago while the men were working as mechanics. Fanaris later became a computer programmer, Schiebel said. The men were part of a group of friends that did everything together, including hunting.

“He came to (Routt County) periodically because he loved his big-game hunting. You’d walk into his house, and he’d have his big elk heads on the walls and the bear skin rugs,” he said. “I know he was really looking forward to this trip.”

Locke said Fanaris died at about 6:30 a.m. Monday after he and a couple of other hunters ate breakfast and were preparing to go out into the field.

“The men were up and (Fanaris) apparently told the other men he wasn’t feeling well and went back to lay down,” Locke said. “The other hunters hadn’t left yet and went back into the tent to see if he wanted to go, which is when they found him.”

“This was totally a fluke,” Schiebel said. “We all joked who amongst the four us would be the first to go, and I thought Mike would have been the one to out-survive us all. He was a triathlete, he went to the Y(MCA), and he’d always shake his finger at me when I lit a cigarette at the bar.”

No comments: