If Michael “Tony” Westall could visit with his children one more time, he’d likely encourage them to fulfill their ambitions and keep challenging themselves, his wife says.
Westall, a Parker resident, died Feb. 14 after getting caught in an avalanche while snowmobiling east of Fraser near Rollins Pass.
“My heart is breaking,” his wife Jamey Moss said. “It gives me comfort that he was doing what he loved.”
Westall, a local real estate investor, had lived along the Front Range for most of his life, including in Denver, Perry Park and Littleton. He was passionate about his family, the outdoors and nonprofits such as the Morgan Adams Foundation and Project ReCYCLE.
Westall is survived by his wife and his four children, Tyler, 19; Ryan, 20; Reed, 22; and McKenzy, 16. A proud father, Westall spent lots of time with his children and valued their weekly get togethers, Moss said.
“He would want them to know how incredibly loved they are and how incredibly important they are,” she said. “And that by them being in his world, the world was a better place … Their journey will be his legacy.”
Moss and Westall eloped in 2018, two years after meeting at a charity event. In the coming months, the couple planned to move into a home they recently purchased in Arizona. Westall, who would have turned 59 in May, was getting ready to retire.
“It was impossible not to fall in love with him,” Moss said. “Everyone that knew him fell in love with him.”
Byron Nix, Westall’s cousin, close friend and business partner, also grew up in the Denver area with Westall. While Nix was 5 years younger than his cousin, the two spent ample time together and eventually became neighbors.
“He kind of looked after me,” Nix said.
So far this season, there have been 11 deaths from avalanches in Colorado, which ties with one of the deadliest seasons on record from 2012 to 2013, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Last year, there were six deaths.
“The snowpack is exceptionally weak,” said Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center in a video posted to their site. “We see these conditions about once every 10 years.”
Westall’s family has set up a way to donate to the Morgan Adams Foundation in his name. The nonprofit funds research for children’s cancer. Donations can be made by visiting www.MorganAdamsFoundation.org/RememberingTony.
“He changed my life forever,” Moss said. “I will forever be different in such a better way because of him. I’m forever grateful for that.”
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