Kevin Alexander Volkening was born Sept. 24, 1987, in Pullman and he died around 6 p.m. Friday evening, Aug. 30, 2013, after a rock climbing accident near Cody, Wyo. He was on an outing with friends. The rock he was standing on broke under him, taking him down 50 feet. He was a resident of Salt Lake City.
He spoke often about challenges as "this is life: taking calculated risks, full commitment to your passion, and having the guts to pull off what most deem to be insanity." In college, he met Margaret Coyle, saying, "If she's the right one for ya' then there shouldn't be anything holding you back." They were married in 2011 and were inseparable. He graduated from Montana State University in 2011 with a bachelor of science (BS) in biological/biosystems engineering and a bachelor of science (BS) in chemical engineering. He was employed at Black Diamond Equipment in Salt Lake City as a quality assurance engineer testing harnesses, headlamps, poles and crash pads. While in college, he developed a love for rock climbing and managed the Associated Students of Montana State University Recreational Sports and Fitness climbing wall for three years. He became well known in the rock climbing community in the Western United States for his accomplishments, attention to detail and safety awareness. In high school, he became involved in the Juneau Ice-field Research Program (JIRP). And in college, he remained involved, becoming the JIRP logistics and safety manager/mass balance research coordinator. Much of his college work focused on extending his studies in the climate/glaciological fields, with several trips to the Alaska Range. At 17, he rode his bicycle with his Dad from the Pacific Ocean to Chicago in 45 days, more than 3,000 miles. He enjoyed people and he especially enjoyed seeking ways to enrich the lives of others. Kevin had the ability to bring out that deep down kind hidden spirit buried within each person he met and to share that spirit with others. Such was his way to make the world a better place for everyone. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Volkening of Bozeman, Mont.; his mom and dad, Lois and Larry Volkening of Dillon, Mont.; his sisters, Jennifer Booth of Bellingham, Wash., Lisa Volkening of Tucson, Ariz., and Erica Toelle of Seattle; his birth mom, Alice Bell of Seattle; and his grandma, Louise Volkening of Dillon.
Services will be 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Cranefield Farms in Bozeman, Mont.
Donations may be given in his name to the scholarship program at the Foundation for Glacier and Environmental Research, 4616 25th Ave. N.E. Suite 302, Seattle, WA 98105.