Steamboat Springs Friends and family described David Girty as a genuine man who was a pleasure to be around.
“If you just met him, you would think he knew you for years,” said his wife, Diane. “That’s how he made people feel.”
Oak Creek resident Richard Villa, who worked with Girty in the U.S. Forest Service in the 1990s, said Girty was a friendly man who liked to talk.
“If you were in a room with him, you better put some room between you and him because he was a real loud talker,” Villa said.
Villa said he was shocked to learn of Girty’s death.
“It sort of takes your breath away when you know someone that well,” he said.
Girty was reported missing Monday after never returning from work on Buffalo Pass, where he worked on the Forest Service’s road crew. His Forest Service pickup was found Tuesday morning crashed about 180 feet down a steep slope along Buffalo Pass Road near the second gate.
On Wednesday, Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said an autopsy showed Girty died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries sustained in the crash. The Colorado State Patrol concluded it appeared Girty was not wearing his seat belt.
Ryg said there was no sign that a medical issue forced Girty, 62, to go off the road.
“We’ll probably never know what caused him to go off,” Ryg said.
A memorial service has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at Hayden High School.
Diane and David had been married for 43 years. The couple met in kindergarten in Cincinnati. They moved to Steamboat in 1979, moved to Hayden in 1995 and had two sons. Their oldest, David Jr., died in a car accident in Steamboat in 1989, Diane said. Their youngest son, Jacob, lives in Hayden with his wife, Elly. They have a 16-month-old son named Nicholas.
Diane said besides enjoying the outdoors, his dogs and horses, David had a love for Ohio State University football and for helping coach the football team in 1990s at Steamboat Springs High School.
Diane said David was known as the “get-back coach” because David was tasked with making sure the players stayed off the sidelines.
During his time in Routt County, Diane said David worked numerous jobs. David currently was a temporary worker for the Forest Service and last week visited with Interim Street Superintendent David Van Winkle at the city of Steamboat Springs, where David wanted to work again plowing snow.
Winkle said David was a very outgoing person who was a pleasure to be around.
“He needed something to do all the time or he went crazy,” Winkle said. “He was very energetic."
Winkle said David was proud to be a grandfather and was excited about his current job and the prospect of plowing snow again this winter.
“He was just a genuine man,” Winkle said.
Kent Foster, the recreation program manager for the Hahn’s Peak-Bears Ears Ranger District, said David was one of the most upbeat road crew members he had worked with in a long time.
“He loved being out in the woods,” Foster said. “He loved being outside.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland