Son of UI official dies in Colorado

The son of former University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Easter has died in a snowboarding accident in Colorado.

Aaron Easter, 31, died Tuesday from injuries he suffered while snowboarding alone Monday at Steamboat Ski Area, according to resort spokeswoman Loryn Kasten. Other skiers found him on an intermediate trail about 11:30 a.m. Monday, she said. He was unresponsive, and they performed CPR until ski patrol arrived, she said.

Kasten said Mr. Easter was found in a snow depression, created when snow develops over a wetland area. It was marked as a hazardous area, she said.

The ski patrol took Mr. Easter down the mountain to an ambulance, continuing CPR and advanced life support, Kasten said. He was then taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat and later flown to a Denver hospital, where he died Tuesday after his parents and sibilings arrived, officials said.

The accident is being investigated by the ski resort and the Steamboat Springs Police Department, which is standard procedure, Kasten said.

Aaron Easter attended Mahomet-Seymour High School and received a degree in forestry from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He worked in Wisconsin before recently taking a job in Colorado, UI officials said.

Robert Easter, a longtime UI professor and administrator, served as interim UI chancellor from 2009 through September 2011 and is now interim vice chancellor for research.

He and his wife, Cheryl, flew to Denver on Monday to be with their son, a UI official said.

They have two other children: Brian Easter, athletic director at Centennial High School, and Johanna Robinson, who lives in Mahomet.

"You always wonder why these things happen to the best people," said family friend Richard Vogen.

Vogen, director of planning and resource development for the UI College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, has known Robert Easter since they were graduate students together. He said the Easters are "devout Christians. They know where their priorities lie. I'm sure that will help them through this."

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BigTenFan wrote on January 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Easter family.

areader wrote on January 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Prayers for the family--God be with you during this difficult time.