Jackson High grad dies in kayaking accident
EVERETT - The promising future of Jackson High School graduate Chris Gormley ended in a kayaking accident in Whitman County Sunday, April 1.
Gormley, 18, was a standout student at Jackson High School. He entered Gonzaga University in Spokane last fall. He died of hypothermia after his kayak capsized in the near-freezing waters of Rock Lake in rural Whitman County, according to Spokane media reports. He was participating in a kayaking event sponsored by the university’s outdoors program that took a bad turn; one other student was hospitalized. All of the other students and guides on the trip returned safely, the university said.
Gormley was an Eagle Scout and was awarded the Everett School District’s Superintendent Scholar academics award last spring.
Although he was a first-year student, he had acquired enough credits to be a junior and was the recipient of numerous scholarships. Gormley was in the Gonzaga Honors program, a political science major and a member of the university’s Residence Hall Block Council.
Gormley was quick to help his friends and carried a self-effacing dry sense of humor, Jackson principal Terry Chesire said.
“Chris was something special; he was an excellent student, an even better human being, and he was a young man who loved his parents and his little brother,” Chesire said.
Gormley is the son of Everett residents Chris and Susan Gormley. It was Chris’ dream to go to Gonzaga, the university said.
By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published April 11, 2012