A family remembrance of Joseph Kitchin Philpott

Joseph Kitchin Philpott, March 29, 1986—March 2, 2013

Written by the family of Joseph Kitchin Philpott.


“Yesterday, I reflect…Tomorrow I ponder…And today, I live.”   We lost our beloved brother, son, uncle, cousin, nephew and friend to all on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in an avalanche on Cameron Pass, near Fort Collins, Colorado, doing what he loved with people he loved, including the love of his life, Kylie Nulty.  “Live” is exactly what Joseph did everyday of his life and love is Philpott, Joewhat he filled it with.  With a passion for the outdoors, Joe worked as a smoke jumper with Great Basin Smoke Jumpers out of Boise, Idaho and went to Colorado State University in Fort Collins where he was working on his Forestry degree.  Joe was born and raised in Durango, Colorado and graduated from Durango High School in 2004.  He is the son of George and Margo Philpott, brother to Jim and Erin Philpott, Michael and Joanna Philpott, and Livy and EJ Sparks, and Uncle to Colby and Mason Philpott and Margaret Sparks.  Joe was always up for an adventure big or small.  Joe was an avid backcountry skier, incredible surfer, mountain biker, paraglider, but he could be just as content and full spending a day drinking beer with friends and his brothers or wrestling with “Moose,” his endearing nickname he gave to his nephew Mason.  He had the depth and wisdom at twenty-six a man might only get in a lifetime which was reflected in his brilliant paintings, his insightful poetry, and his finger pickin’ Banjo tunes.

Joe was the kind of person that would not only light a room, but a whole forest, a surf-break, an expansive blue sky, or a whole mountain side with his curly hair, his twinkling blue eyes, his laugh, and his endless gentle, kind words.  All friends and family that knew him, knew that Joe loved them because Joe was the kind of person that would share openly and without reservation, he would share his thoughts and tell you “I love you” when he felt it and was an example on not taking a single day or a single person in his life for granted.  Like the expansive aspen grove stretching through the San Juan mountains where Joe’s heart and soul was born and grew, Joe had an incredible network of friends and family connected by roots of friendship and love; he truly touched everyone he met and was loved by all who crossed his path.  When Ryan called Joe’s smoke jumper crew boss to notify him of the accident, and asked if he could call and notify his best friend of the bunch, the crew boss responded, “Well, that might be hard, you’ll have to call about 80 people.  Everyone was Joe’s best friend.”

By all accounts, Joe had a quick and peaceful passing after a Saturday morning full of laughing, singing and skiing under a beautiful blue sky with Kylie, Alex, and Toby.  The memories and stories about Joe go on forever and as Kylie said, “they are only good ones.”  Take a moment and reflect on your memory with Joe, he has so deeply touched us all and taught us how to truly live and will live on within us.  He is flying high, no longer needing a wing or parachute to float peacefully along.  Joe said, “We shall light a candle in our hearts…which shall never be put out.”  Joe lit a fire in so many of our hearts and they will never go out.

Read the account of Philpott’s death in an avalanche Saturday near Cameron Pass