Car accident injuries prove fatal for Dean "Cody" St. John
The family of Dean "Cody" St. John will host a public reception to celebrate Cody's life at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, at Olympian Hall in the Howelsen Hill Lodge, 845 Howelsen Parkway. Donations can be made to a scholarship fund established in Cody's name, created by Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., at 2305 Mt. Werner Circle in Steamboat Springs.
Steamboat Springs — Near the end of a day on the slopes in the spring of 2006, patroller Dean “Cody” St. John skidded his snowboard to a sudden halt.
John Kohnke, ski patrol director at Steamboat Ski Area, was skiing alongside St. John on that particular run. But Kohnke’s veteran eyes missed what St. John’s spotted.
“I didn’t know why he stopped,” Kohnke said Monday, remembering the incident. “I thought somebody was seriously hurt.”
Far up the slope behind St. John, a young boy was struggling to get his boots back into his skis. Although the incident was not a serious one, Kohnke said, St. John didn’t hesitate for a moment.
“He started hopping on his snowboard up to the kid, straight uphill for about 50 yards,” Kohnke said. “At that point I thought, ‘Man, this is a guy who has really got it.'”
St. John, 29, died at 10 a.m. Sunday of injuries sustained in a car accident April 2. The accident occurred on Colo. Highway 127, three miles south of the Wyoming border, when St. John lost control of his 1991 Honda Accord on a patch of snow and collided with a southbound logging truck, according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Scott Fischer. St. John was taken to Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland after the accident.
Monday, St. John’s family, friends and co-workers remembered a compassionate, engaging and professional individual who will be incredibly missed.
Katrene “Kat” Lewis dated St. John for more than a year but said she took the measure of the man in a moment.
“It was love at first sight – his smile, his eyes, his personality : everything about him instantly had me from the time that I met him,” Lewis said. “His smile just swept me right off my feet.”
St. John graduated from Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, Md., and attended Frostburg State University in Western Maryland before moving to the mountains of Colorado. While continuing his education at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, St. John worked for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. for more than four years.
Kohnke said St. John’s job interview left no doubt about the hire.
“I looked at Cody St. John and saw a guy with all the skills and qualities of our best patrollers – a strong and independent spirit, strength of character, and most importantly a compassion for helping others,” Kohnke said. “Cody turned out to be what we call the ‘gold standard.’ For somebody to really be successful patrolling on a snowboard, they would have to be a really special person.”
Cody St. John was named the state’s Ski Patroller of the Year in 2006, the first snowboarder to receive the honor.
“Any patient he had, he treated them like they were the most important person to him,” said co-worker Quint Friesell, who cited St. John’s confidence in tough spots on the mountain. “You could hear it in his voice on the radio. Even if it was a serious situation, Cody’s voice was always calm. He never did less than his best.”
St. John’s roommate, Ryan Thompson, said the avid cyclist “had everything together” in his life and in the kitchen, where St. John “could make tofu taste like filet mignon.”
“Everybody knows about buying your girlfriend flowers on Valentine’s Day, but Cody would buy his landlady flowers when she was sick,” Thompson said. “He would go that extra mile for people. He really did touch lives.”
Cody St. John is survived by his mother, Candida St. John; father, Dean St. John; and sister, Corinne St. John.
Marc George, Cody St. John’s stepfather for the past 11 years, said St. John is one of very few organ donors in Colorado so far this year.
“He was all about helping people, always,” George said.
Lewis said Cody St. John was the man she was going to marry.
“He was my best friend, my soul mate, and the absolute love of my life,” she said. “I was lucky to have him in my life.”
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