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SALT LAKE CITY – For as many times as search and rescue crews have dealt with avalanches on Circleville Mountain near the Piute-Beaver county line, the one that happened Thursday afternoon was about as big as anyone there has ever seen.
“The slide is a pretty massive slide,” said Craig Wright, commander of the Beaver County Search & Rescue Team. “We’re looking at probably a couple hundred yards wide and at least a hundred yards long.”
Brad Stapley, 41, was in that slide.
After avalanche experts intentionally detonated slides to make searching for him safer, search crews found his body Friday morning.
“I have so many good memories of what a remarkable and good man that he is,” said Travis Seegmiller, who grew up with Stapley in the small town of Washington in southern Utah. “Yeah, we were really good friends.”
Seegmiller is also the Utah state representative for that area of southern Utah, and took time out of his busy day at work at the Capitol Friday to share what his childhood friend meant to him.
“He is funny and fun, very hard working, dedicated and diligent. And just filled with integrity,” said Seegmiller. “The kind of person who has a big heart, and a big heart that he probably doesn’t want you to know about.”
Stapley did a lot of philanthropic, humanitarian and charitable work for causes in the St. George area. He never wanted any credit for it.
“He was the kind of guy that would really try to make a difference behind the scenes,” said Seegmiller.
However, to his close friends and family, Stapley seemed almost larger than life.
He was married, he had six daughters, and he ran the kind of pharmacies where he knew his customers names and treated them with integrity and kindness.
“We know he’s leaving such a long-lasting, memorable, permanent legacy behind,” said Seegmiller.
He’s also leaving behind enough stories for his friends and family to talk about for a lifetime.
“That’s the thing that cheers me,” said Seegmiller. “He’ll never be forgotten.”
The two other men Stapley was snowmobiling with Thursday were OK. One of them was also caught in that avalanche but managed to get out. Both of them helped search and rescue teams to find the area where the avalanche happened.