Lawrence man, owner of Fatso's, dies during hike in Grand Canyon

Owner Gavin Smith was found near a parking lot at the landmark.


Special to the Journal-World

Gavin Smith with his wife Melissa with their son Liam. Smith’s body was found by one of his hiking companions Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010 at the Grand Canyon. Smith was the owner of Fatso’s, 1016 Mass.

A 30-year-old Lawrence man has died while hiking in Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Gavin C. Smith’s body was found by one of his hiking companions late Tuesday afternoon. Smith was the owner of Fatso’s, 1016 Mass.

Initial indications are that his death was heat-related.

According to information from the National Park Service, Smith and four others were on a day hike. Smith hiked about halfway down the route on Tuesday morning and decided to wait for his companions to descend to a river and come back for him.

His body was found by one of his hiking companions late Tuesday afternoon, about 100 yards from a parking area where the route begins.

Smith and his companions were hiking along the Lava Falls Route of the national park, which is one of the park’s hottest, steepest routes, according to the park service.

On Thursday, as news of his death spread around the community, friends said they’ll miss the popular bar owner who was always easy to talk to.

“He just had one of those spirits that attracts people and made them feel at ease,” said Megan Poindexter, a friend of Smith’s.

Poindexter and Smith served as co-chairs of the Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network, and were also in the same Leadership Lawrence class.

She said Smith was both an adept businessman and a loving husband and father to his 2-year-old son.

“He was an amazing friend and always ready to give a listening ear to something serious or something comical in your life,” she said.

Danny Williams, another friend who used to own the Barrel House and the Phoggy Dog in Lawrence, said Smith was very smart and never afraid to try new things to increase business.

“He’s one guy who was always in a great mood and would do anything for anybody,” Williams said.

Smith was able to attract a number of friends and acquaintances that way, Williams said.

“He cared about everybody around him, but especially his family. ... Everybody’s just kind of in shock today,” Williams said. “His spirit will live on, for sure.”


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