Family remembers Cedar City man who died in climbing accident

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CEDAR CITY, Utah – The family of Thomas Christensen says he’ll be always remembered as someone who loved everyone for who they were. Thomas died on Monday during a climbing accident in Cedar Canyon.

The 19-year-old man went climbing with two of his foster brothers. His mother, Tavia, still remembers the feeling of dread getting that call. She says Thomas was the glue that held her family together.

“He’d be angry with all the crying I’ve been doing,” said Tavia. “Because he’d be telling me it was okay. But I will miss him, everything about him.”

Alex Foree was with Thomas when he fell. Foree said they’d taken a more difficult climb up the rock, and the fall happened suddenly. Thomas fell about 30 feet. Foree held Thomas until medics arrived. Thomas died before he could be transported.

“I just hear him slip and I saw him fall and I tried to grab his arm, but he hit his on a rock and fell past another one. I couldn’t see him after that,” Foree recalled.

Thomas’ family says he’s remembered as a friend to everyone. That influence was evidenced by a candlelight vigil held at the trailhead near the climb Wednesday night. Nearly 400 people showed up to honor him.

“It was amazing to me at how many people he had touched,” said Thomas’ foster father Patrick Larson. “How many stories there were of people he had talked to and helped out of situations, helped them look at themselves in a different way.”

Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 13 at Southern Utah Mortuary in Cedar City. A viewing will be held form 2 to 3 pm. Services will start at 4 pm. Tavia said the public is welcome to attend. They hope to make it a celebration of Thomas’ life.