Originally published July 24, 2012 at 11:15a.m., updated July 24, 2012 at 04:03p.m.
Steamboat Springs A Steamboat Springs resident died Sunday from injuries suffered in a boating accident in Juneau County, Wis., on Saturday.
Michael Miklavicic, 23, had lived in Steamboat for almost five years and worked for Bob Reinier at B&L Quality Taxidermy.
“He was one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever seen,” Reinier said Tuesday. “We’ll just really miss him a lot.”
According to the WRJC radio station website, Miklavicic and four other men were thrown from the boat after it struck a rock near a bridge in Castle Rock Lake. CPR was performed on Miklavicic, who was transported to UW Health in Madison, where he died. The other men were treated for their injuries at Mile Bluff Medical Center.
WRJC reported that the driver of the boat, 21-year-old Christopher Collins, was arrested on suspicion of operating the boat while intoxicated.
According to his obituary, Miklavicic was a Wisconsin native and a gifted athlete who graduated from Adams-Friendship High. He attended taxidermy school and pursued a career in taxidermy in Friendship, Wis., where he opened Miklavicic Taxidermy.
Reinier said Miklavicic was on a ski vacation in Steamboat when he asked him for a job at his taxidermy shop. Under Reinier, Miklavicic further learned the trade and became close to the Reinier family.
“We adopted him as our son pretty much,” Reinier said.
Miklavicic was an country music dancer and avid outdoorsman who liked to ski, fish and hunt. Last winter, he bagged a mountain lion during a hunting trip in Moffat County, Reinier said.
Miklavicic had backpacked through Europe and recently returned from a trip to Alaska, where he was working as a fisherman during the summer.
Reinier said Miklavicic got his Colorado residency in the spring and was planning to return to Steamboat in the fall.
“This was going to be his home,” Reinier said. “He was here to stay.”
A funeral is at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Friendship, Wis.
Condolences can be sent to Roseberrys Funeral Home, P.O.Box 620, Friendship, WI 53934.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com