Trystan Campbell remembered by family, friends at Tuesday gathering | CraigDailyPress.com

Trystan Campbell remembered by family, friends at Tuesday gathering

Campbell’s funeral slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at The Journey at First Baptist in Craig

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Family and friends gathered at Sherwood bike jumps near City Park in Craig Tuesday afternoon to honor Trystan Campbell who passed away Saturday. His mother, April Chavira-Montieth, stands in the middle (with the pink heart that says "Love"), holding a flag that attendees signed.

— Trystan Campbell, 18, was what family members described as a "gentle giant."

The Moffat County High School student stood 6 feet 4 inches tall, often intimidating those who didn't know him, friends said.

But if you peeled back the layers, you'd find a kind and respectful young man, said MCHS special education teacher Jeff Sullivan.

"He was misunderstood," Sullivan said. "He was a really big guy and could be somewhat abrasive, but he was super, super kind and respectful."

Campbell, who would have been a senior in the fall, was in Sullivan's class.

"He was a real fun kid," Sullivan said. "He was always willing to do anything for anyone."

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Sullivan was one of four MCHS staffers who honored Campbell at a celebration of life gathering at Sherwood bike jumps near City Park in Craig Tuesday afternoon. Nearly 70 people came together to laugh, cry and honor a friend and family member who they say lost his life too soon.

Campbell passed away Saturday at University Hospital in Denver after being pulled from the Yampa River in Craig on Friday. He originally was taken to The Memorial Hospital of Craig and was later transported to Denver where he was taken off of life support, his mother April Chavira-Montieth said.

"He was very kind. He had a huge heart," she said through tears. "He loved animals. He was amazing to his little sister. He was a good kid."

She described him also as a "redneck cowboy" who loved his flags. Craig residents knew when he was driving through town in his 2001 Dodge pickup truck due to the two large flags waving on the back — one American flag and one Confederate flag. He'd often switch the American flag with a bright yellow flag that read "Don't Tread on Me."

That particular flag was at the bike park on Tuesday so that friends and family could sign it, writing messages of love and well wishes.

"Those flags meant a lot to him," his mother said. "I want to have it at his funeral, and I'll keep it."

Campbell's funeral is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at The Journey at First Baptist in Craig. Dinner will follow.

"He didn't live a day down. Everyday was a new day. He wasn't the friendliest because no one really appreciated how good of a person he was," said his stepbrother Tracer Hickman, 18. "There wasn't a time a day he wasn't loving life. He liked to drive his truck around. He liked to fly his flags. He knew what life was, not a lot of people do."

Campbell lived with his father, Adam Campbell, the last year of his life, his mother said.

Those who gathered Tuesday took turns describing Trystan Campbell’s kind, respectful and funny personality.

"He loved his boots," one person said. "He had water boots, mudding boots and dancing boots."

Most of all, he loved his family and made sure they were happy and well treated, said his stepsister Tatam Hickman, 17.

"Trystan always had a big heart. When he was around, he would do anything for anybody. He would always be there if you needed him," she said.

Chavira-Montieth wanted to thank the family that tried to save her son from drowning. Thomas Way, his wife, Terra Way, and Mr. and Mrs. Fredrickson were all present at Loudy-Simpson Park that day and unsuccessfully tried to pull Campbell from the river.

Campbell is survived by his mother April Chavira-Montieth; stepfather Michel Chavira; father Adam Campbell; sisters Mya Chavira, 5, and Imogene Campbell, 11; brother Tyce Campbell, 15; step-siblings Tracer Hickman, 18, Tatam Hickman, 17, and Tahoe Chenoweth, 14; grandparents Joann Campbell, Sam and Patty Montieth; uncle Nate (Danielle) Campbell; and aunt Cassie Campbell.

He's preceded in death by uncle Dwayne Montieth and grandfather (Papa) John Campbell.

Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.