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Former Sylvester man dies while hiking in Colorado

Wayne Kirkbride, a former Worth County teacher and retired Army Ranger, was found dead in Colorado after going missing while out on a hike.

Wayne Kirkbride, a former Worth County teacher and retired Army Ranger, was found dead in Colorado after going missing while out on a hike.

BUENA VISTA, Colo. — A former Sylvester, Ga., man has been found dead in Colorado. He was hiking in Chaffee County and had last been seen on Sunday.

KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs reports that the body 61-year-old Wayne Kirkbride of Monument was discovered Tuesday. The retired U.S. Army Special Forces lieutenant colonel disappeared on a hike near Mount Antero.

Kirkbride was a former resident of Sylvester, where he was a biology and physical science teacher at Worth County High School. He also coached wrestling and cross country. He was a 1972 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy.

A news release from county rescuers said it appeared that Kirkbride fell from a steep slope. A U.S. Army helicopter spotted Kirkbride’s body Tuesday afternoon over the area near Cascade Falls.

County officials say Kirkbride’s body would be retrieved Wednesday.

Alan Kimbro, retired school superintendent for Worth County public schools, remembered Kirkbride fondly.

“I hired him when I was principal at the high school to run the ROTC program at Worth County High School,” Kimbro said.

“My memories of him are all positive. He was a straight up man. He was small in stature, but was a Green Beret in the Army and served in Vietnam. He coached wrestling at high school and nobody could beat him.”

“He was a very religious man,” Kimbro said. “What he said was the way it went. He practiced tough love at the school. You knew where you stood with him. The kids respected him. He didn’t want their fear, he wanted respect.

He did an excellent job for us. He was valuable at the school with his duties and was very active in the community, helping various support groups.”