J. Michael Foxx, 1940-2020
Father, husband, entrepreneur, adventurer. Mike is remembered for his unwavering belief in people, love for his family and friends, passion for granite and mountain peaks, and of course his always-adventurous spirit.
The son of an Army Colonel, Mike’s childhood was spent finding adventures in Cincinnati, Germany, Washington, and California. While still getting his business degree, he began Foxx Maintenance in Orange County, among other small businesses.
He married LaVonne and together they had four children, never missing a chance to climb a rock or hike in the High Sierras and Rocky Mountains with family and friends. Mike loved to mentor others in the art of climbing, always with patience and encouraging words.
After the family moved to Ridgway in1986, he continued to follow his passion for small business and big rocks. Utilizing his vast survival and mountaineering skills, he joined and became captain of the Ouray Mountain Rescue Team. His adventures with this team would become his story for years to come, even after his resignation due to injuries sustained while on one of the rescues. To the end, he spoke highly of the team, reminding us all that each one is vital to the other.
Mike moved to Durango where he continued to climb and hone his taste for local beers. Recent years brought with it more health challenges and a move back to California, but his love of people and stories of the mountains continued on.
Michael went Off Belay on March 19, 2020 after a brave battle with Parkinson’s and prostate cancer, his devoted daughter, Michelle, by his side. He is survived by his four children, Kevin, Michelle, Scott, and Nathan, and his grandchildren, Leilani and Marcus, all of whom he was so proud.
If you listen, you can probably hear his voice echoing through the mountains, to “Trust the Rope!”, “Check your Knots!”, “I got you On Belay!” and especially reminding us all to "Enjoy the View!”
The Foxx family request that friends remember Michael by supporting OMRT through a donation to the team. Follow this link to see how.
Walt Rule died recently while in hospice at the Rule home in Montrose.
Walt was an amazing man and remarkable, enduring public voice for the land and people of this area. In the 1970s he was the U.S. Forest Service Montrose District ranger, in the 1980s an early Ouray Trail Group member, simultaneously serving with Ouray Mountain Rescue Team from 1987 to 1994. In that capacity he wrote mission reports, detailed meeting minutes and kept the Orange Beast vehicle going. He demurred when asked to be captain, but would have been a terrific one.
Walt was civic minded, a member of OCHS, often present at BOCC and City Council meetings, engaged in the issues of the day, an advocate for these wild San Juans. Most importantly, he was a superb resource, sharing his knowledge with those of us who came after him in OMRT and Trail Group.
He is survived by his wife Nancy.
Walt Rule, in yellow helmet, was among rescuers responding in 1992 to the first-ever winter climbing incident at the Uncompahgre Gorge, which three years later would become the world-renowned Ouray Ice Park.