Community feels loss of father, son

Friends, family share fond memories of the pair

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Community feels loss of father, son

Ivy Kaplan

Senior Evan McManus and his father Damian were reported missing after hiking at Echo Lake, Colo., on April 6. They have yet to be found after multiple search attempts by local officials.

His mother, Katherine McManus, said caring about others was second nature to Evan.

“The thing that jumps out most to me is his kindness,” she said. “He was very compassionate, in fact, so much so that I think he actually wrote one of his college application letters on his feelings for others when they are in need or hurting. ”

Along with his compassion, Evan had a great sense of humor, sensitivity, responsibility, intelligence, charm, athleticism and strong sense of faith, Katherine said.

One of Evan’s close friends, junior Graham Larson said Evan had a great attitude and sense of dedication.

“I think he was just very, very caring,” Larson said. “Everything that he does, and everything in his life that means something to him, he really puts all of whatever he has toward it, whether that be his girlfriend or a relationship with a friend or soccer.”

Damian possessed an engaging attitude and personality, complete with a dimpled smile and British accent.

“He was quite the social animal,” Katherine said. “He was just so comfortable no matter where you put him.”

Damian also recognized the value of youth, demonstrated by his involvement in the St. Louis Park soccer program.

“He was great with kids,” McManus said. “Sometimes adults just ignore when kids are sitting in the stands, but he would always talk to them and engage them in some kind of funny or educational banter.”

In addition to peers, Evan and Damian impacted staff members as well. Math teacher Erik Ahlquist taught Evan and said the events of the missing hikers deeply affected him.

“I’ve taught for 18 years, and I can easily say that for me, this has been the hardest two weeks that I’ve ever had teaching,” Ahlquist said. “You want to deflect (students’) pain, even if it means more pain for you.”

Larson said he thinks the school efforts have been appropriate for those grieving.

“We don’t really know what happened with the search so it’s hard to react, but I think we did a pretty good job,” Larson said.

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