By Jim Stanford on January 9, 2010
As many of you who have been following the CarePages updates know, Mark “Big Wally” Wolling has died of brain injuries sustained in Wednesday’s avalanche at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
His friend Mike Fischer announced the news late last night, after a neurologist met with family. Wolling was to be taken off life support this morning and his organs donated, Fischer said.
Wolling is the fourth Jackson Hole ski patroller to be killed on duty by avalanches, joining Paul Driscoll (1985) and Tom Raymer (1986) of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Dick Pittman (1964) of Snow King Ski Area.
The incident has cast a pall over a community eager to put the many tragedies of last year behind it. Family and friends are mourning the loss of a gentle giant known for his generosity and kindness, as the hundreds of comments on Wolling’s CarePages attest.
A reader pointed out that Wally died next to the woods that bear his name, Wally World (see photo from previous post). David Gonzales, author of Jackson Hole: On a Grand Scale, a history of the resort, put it best in a Facebook post:
“While I was working on the Jackson Hole book, I asked Big Wally where Wally World was. His straightfaced reply: ‘Wally World’s not a place. It’s a state of mind, where the fun never stops and all your dreams come true.’”
A public memorial service has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday behind the Mangy Moose. Friends and family will gather there an hour earlier.