DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The bodies of 72-year-old John Walter of Kettering and 65-year-old Gary York of West Chester were found near the Utah-Arizona border Sunday.
Authorities believe the men were caught off-guard by flash flooding while hiking through slot canyons in the area. They were swept away in the rushing waters and carried several miles before their bodies were found.
2 NEWS sat down with John’s daughter, Corey Messer, as she recalled the kind of man her father was.
John was described by his family as the “best ever”. He could fix your car, fix your computer and gave freely to anyone in need.
The same could also be said of his best friend Gary. Together, they made a profound impact on everyone they came in contact with. They both shared a love of faith, helping others and hiking.
They planned their trip through the slot canyons thoroughly.
John and his daughter Corey were best of friends, and he would send her updates about how wonderful the trip was.
“We got updates every night of just the beauty of it all,” Corey said.
This was not just any other trip for John and Gary. It was celebrating the life of Marcy, John’s wife and Gary’s sister, who brought the two together over 40 years ago.
Not even two months since the passing of Marcy, John and Gary were swept away in a flash flood.
Now, Corey mourns the loss of both her parents just months apart, and she’s hanging onto the good memories. Picking up the pieces has been hard, but she said a comfort is remembering how John showed love each day, especially to his family.
“I don’t think there’s anything that I should have, could have said to him,” Corey reflected. “I feel like he knows how much I cared for him, and I know how much he loved me and our family and the grandkids and the great grandkids, like we know how much. There wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t show us.”
Corey said she hopes to work with law enforcement and other organizations to help alert hikers when flash flooding is heading their way.