By Jill Fox
While on vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 47-year-old Parkland resident Jay Jurgens was found unresponsive on Saturday, January 2, while snowboarding at the Grand Targhee Resort.
According to East Idaho News, The Teton County, Wyoming Sheriff’s Office reports Jurgens was snowboarding by himself Saturday. It’s not clear what caused his death, however Teton County, Wyoming Coroner Dr. Brent Blue told East Idaho News it wasn’t the result of trauma.
Jurgens was discovered by another resort patron.
After being alerted to the unresponsive snowboarder, the Targhee ski patrol responded and administered CPR for about 20 minutes before the county coroner was called. Authorities confirmed the death was not suspicious in nature, although it remains under investigation by both the coroner and sheriff’s offices.
For more than 15 years, the Jurgens family has lived in Parkland’s Heron Bay community. Jay has worked at HMY Yachts since 2006, and his wife, Maria, is a nurse anesthetist at Delray Medical Center.
A devoted husband and father, Jay could always be found on Parkland sports fields cheering for his children: Mila, 8 and Jackson, 9, who both attend Heron Heights Elementary.
Born in Port Jefferson, New York, Jay grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, however, he lived in Florida for most of his life. He coached Parkland Little League, was part of the Parkland Pokers 8U family, and participated in the annual Wiffle blast tournament.
“He wanted the best not only for his children but for every child – Jay had a heart of gold,” said Nicholle Anderson, whose son, Jake played travel baseball with Jackson.
According to friends, Jay loved being a part of the baseball community and was also quite an adventurer. An avid boater and mountain biker, he and his family, often enjoyed vacationing in Wyoming.
Friends said it was a special place for them, especially since the couple honeymooned there.
“When you talk about the definition of a family unit, they embodied all of it,” said Sharon Erickson, Maria’s close friend.
“Thinking about them, you just get overwhelmed with emotion because they are an amazing family who enjoyed life experiences and adventures together,” she said.
Now, Jackson is wondering who will fix things around the house.
“Anyone who knew Jay, knew he could fix anything,” said Jenny Patap, who flew to Maria’s aid along with Bevin Taylor — both friends for over 20 years.
A Gofundme has been set up to assist with both immediate and long-term needs for the family. In just one day, over $30,000 has been donated.
Matt Kaufman, Parkland Flag Football President, feels the youth sports community should come together to support one of their own.
“For a family to not have their fourth wheel is debilitating,” he said. “Whatever it is they need, we can be there for them.”
In an email to Parkland families, he asked for residents to please donate to the worthiest of causes.
Erickson said, “It is my hope that this amazing community can rally together for this family, not only now but in the months and years ahead.”
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.
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