Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

BYU student killed in avalanche remembered as kind, adventurous

By Pat Reavy, Deseret News

Published: Mon, Feb. 10 5:07 p.m. MST

 BYU student Ashleigh Nicole Cox, 21, spent last summer in Romania caring for children in hospitals and orphanages. She died Sunday of injuries she received when she was buried in an avalanche Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in American Fork Canyon.

BYU student Ashleigh Nicole Cox, 21, spent last summer in Romania caring for children in hospitals and orphanages. She died Sunday of injuries she received when she was buried in an avalanche Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in American Fork Canyon.

(Ashleigh Cox blog)

PROVO — Ashleigh Cox loved a good adventure.

"She was always up for anything you had in mind. If it was going snowshoeing or just going for a walk or doing just absolutely anything, she was up for it," said her friend Elizabeth Kent.

Kent was among many friends and family members mourning Cox's death over the weekend.

Cox, 21, was snowshoeing with friends in a steep gully near the Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon Saturday when she was swept away by a small avalanche that left her buried and face down in a stream. She was taken off life support on Sunday.

Cox is originally from Colorado Springs. On Monday, her parents released a statement about her.

"It has been difficult for us to handle the sudden loss of our daughter. Our faith in God has and will continue to help us through this difficult time. She will be missed," the family wrote. "Ashleigh planned to graduate from BYU this spring and wanted to further her education in social work. She loved to work with those struggling with life’s challenges and dedicated her short life to serving others."

Kent said Cox went to Romania last summer to help the orphanages there.

"She was just very pure hearted. She was just the type of person who you wanted to be her friend because you knew she would be there for you and she wouldn't let you down," she said. "She was one of the best people I have ever met in my life."

Cox wrote about her Romanian experience in a blog.

"Some of the differences are simply the smiles and laughter of the children who wouldn’t change their facial expressions no matter how much I would try to coax them during the first few weeks — the children who didn’t want to be touched that now cuddle up with me,” Cox wrote. "This experience has truly changed me, and I will never forget these children and the tremendous impact they have had on my life. I love them.”

A funeral for Cox will be held Saturday in Colorado Springs. A memorial service will also be held in Provo on Feb. 18.

"We appreciate the love and concern expressed by family, friends, acquaintances and the community at BYU and in Colorado Springs for the loss of our daughter," he family wrote.

A Pledgie account has been set up in Ashleigh's name to help offset expenses incurred by the family.

The slide in American Fork was one of more than two dozen recorded statewide by the Utah Avalanche Center on Saturday.

On Sunday, an avalanche killed Clint Conover, 36, of Ferron, Emery County, while he was snowmobiling near Huntington Reservoir.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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1. patriot
Cedar Hills, UT,
Feb. 10, 2014

This is terribly sad. What a huge loss for the family. Hard to handle things like this no question regardless of your faith. I do wish there was some sort of LARGE warning sign posted at Tibble Fork and Aspen Grove and other popular snow shoe and ski areas reminding people to stay OFF of steep slopes especially those with no tree cover. These are prime avalanche areas. Every year we have snowmobiling or back country skiing/snow boarding or snow shoeing on steep slopes that causes avalanches and takes lives. I just don't think inexperienced kids know what they are in for before it's too late. Very sad. It see the same sort of inexperienced thing happen in the summer with inexperienced kids climbing 12000+ foot peaks in the late afternoon - prime for lightning.

2. desert
Potsdam, 00,
Feb. 10, 2014

She was always up for anything you had in mind. If it was going snowshoeing or just going for a walk or doing just absolutely anything, she was up for it....

...touched me a lot, this is how I am, I think that she has not been preserved for this life is a testimony to her eagerness to be up for more.
Her involvement with the children testifying of that readiness to come home to Christ.
I am sure this was a terrible accident, but in the end it is full of purpose.
She knows what she left, but she will also be exited about the next step for what she was is up to now.

Let us be grateful for such a faith and this gospel, else we could never think beyond our grief.
Forgive me for posting here, I am unrelated, but emotional effected. She is very blessed now, I know that. She loves them all.If I would know her state of feelings now, I would say for her " I love you " (family,friends, mother...)

3. New to Utah
PAYSON, UT,
Feb. 11, 2014

What an amazing life, she made great contributions in a short time. The experience in Romania is very inspiring.

4. Marigold
Provo, UT,
Feb. 11, 2014

This story breaks my heart! When my sister and I were students at BYU, we would snowshoe and cross-country ski in Midway, Utah (just up Provo Canyon)at the Wasatch Mountain Golf Course. It is a gigantic and beautiful course groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter and it was a wonderful venue for snow-shoeing as well. Also, there was never any danger of avalanches.

5. Grandma 20
Allen, TX,
Feb. 11, 2014

My deepest condolences to the Cox family in the passing of their daughter. I mourn with you, having also experienced the unexpected death of one of my daughters three years ago. I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, for His Atonement, and for the hope of the resurrection. May God bless you at this most difficult time. Love you dearly.