OBITUARY: Kenneth R. Wyrick

Kenneth R. Wyrick

Kenneth R. Wyrick was born Feb., 1944 to John-Duke and Lilly Carlene Wyrick in Mercedes, Texas. Ken passed away peacefully at home on Sept. 5, 2021. He faced his death as fearlessly as he led his life.

Survived by his wife of 40 years, Toni Wyrick and their five children; Logan Joy, Julie, John (Jack), Kevin, and Tessa Wyrick, brother Darrel Wyrick and sister Carol Anne McDaniel. There are numerous grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who will surely miss his presence in their lives. Ken touched so many lives and cherished every friend. Everyone would agree that Ken was an inspiration, he would want you to know how much you meant to him as well. Brevity restricts us naming you all, but please know that if Ken counted you as a friend you were truly loved and protected.

Ken lived life with an amazing vigor and tenacity, seemingly packing several lifetimes of experience into one amazing journey. Though his heart and soul always remained anchored to his family, friends and the wilderness he loved.

Ken’s legacy of service and passion for the outdoors has included serving in the Peace Corps in 1965 in Ecuador and Guatemala, becoming a ski patrolman, mountain and rafting guide, as well as a kayaking and climbing enthusiast. He loved reading, learning and studying. He shared his love of knowledge and outdoors by writing a guide book to the natural wonders he encountered. Always the Renaissance man of the wilds, Ken was respected for his depth and breadth of wilderness skills and sensibilities. He had the privilege of rock climbing with some of the greats, and worked with Clint Eastwood on the Eiger Sanction.

Always challenging himself and seeking new ways to enjoy our world; Ken became an avid pilot. Thus fulfilling his childhood passion for flying. This opened the door to many new places and adventures. Ultimately Ken would log over 5,000 hours and make numerous trips to Alaska, where he and his wife Toni ran a first-class charter business catering to high end clients for 13 years. They treated hundreds of guests to amazing fishing and fabulous food! When visiting Ridgway they would rediscover their love for Colorado while having lunch at the True Grit and playing in the park with their children. It is here they would plant their roots for the next 25 years.

Ken went on to start a very successful radon mitigation business, Environmental Testing, which he ran before passing to their son Jack. Ken embodied diligence and hard work, showing us the value of being resilient, adaptive, and resourceful. He possessed a quick wit and great sense of humor. Most of all he was kind and considerate. A more loyal and constant husband, father, brother or friend could not be found.

Ken left me a letter saying he would try to write his own obituary, but that was apparently the only thing he left for me to do. Words just don’t do justice in capturing the spirit of Ken. He didn’t want anyone to go to any trouble or effort for him, but believe me, HE would go to all kinds of effort for everyone else, and he did that his whole life. He even purchased his own simple pine box (American made of course) and asked to be wrapped in an American flag and put to rest in the most beautiful place in the world, Ouray County, Colorado. He liked to say: “Never be afraid to wake up dead.”

In the end it all comes down to stories. Ken would want to live on in stories told and he would want us to share those stories and laugh and love in the telling of them. If you have stories to share, please send them to me: toniwyrick@outlook.com.

Ken, you are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure, and remembered forever.

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