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Remembering a St. Ansgar man killed in Wyoming avalanche

"The lives he's touched ... he was just a social butterfly."

Posted: Apr. 24, 2018 9:58 AM
Updated: Apr. 25, 2018 11:31 AM

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Officials have released the name of a 24-year-old north-central Iowa man who was killed in a weekend avalanche while snowmobiling in northwestern Wyoming.

Teton County officials say Taylor Bruggeman of Saint Ansgar, Iowa, died Sunday afternoon near Togwotee Pass in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Bruggeman worked side by side with Justin Gasteiger at Heartland Power Cooperative in Thompson. But Gasteiger and his crew spent Tuesday working in Saint Ansgar to be with the Bruggeman family.

"Knowing the family makes this even harder," he said. "The lives he's touched ... he was just a social butterfly."

Gasteiger remembers when he first heard the news that Brugeman was killed while snowmobiling in Trenton County Wyoming. Sheriff's Lt. Matt Carr says Bruggeman's riding partners saw him get buried and could see part of his snowmobile, but couldn't find him. One of the friends stayed to dig while the other one rode about 30 minutes to where he could get cell service. He called for help shortly after 4 p.m.

"I just felt sick to my stomach," he said. "This is not suppose to happen this way. And being that good of a person, it just broke my heart. It broke everyone's heart."

Gasteiger graduated from St. Ansgar High School. One of his teachers and former coaches said he always had a smile on his face, he touched a lot of people, he was well liked and he will be missed. And Gasteiger said that is how he would want to be remembered.

"He'd want everybody to be happy and be happy with the memories they have of him and love him and love each other," Gasteiger said.

The visitation will be held Friday in St, Ansgar. The funneral will be held at his home church in Toeterville.

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