Man killed by falling ice in Park City recalled as eloquent
Jon Henry founded Toastmasters Club, focused on inner beauty
A Wasatch County man died early Saturday morning from injuries he sustained the day before when a large piece of ice hit him after breaking off a roof in Old Town, the authorities said, a tragic accident resulting from the heavy snows that have fallen in recent weeks.
City Hall identified the man as Jon Henry. He was 50 years old and lived in Midway. Henry lived in the Park City area until a recent move. The accident occurred at a little after 2 p.m. on Friday on the 900 block of Woodside Avenue.
Ray Huntzinger, a Park City Fire District battalion chief, said Henry was washing windows between two houses at the time of the accident. The ice fell from a height of approximately two stories, he said. The Fire District estimated the ice weighed at least several hundred pounds. He was working alone, but someone heard the ice crash down and saw that the man was hit, he said.
“He was pinned under a large piece of ice,” Huntzinger said.
Two fire engines and two ambulances responded. Huntzinger said the firefighters could not move the ice. They instead used a sledgehammer to break the ice and free the man.
A medical helicopter transported Henry to a hospital in Salt Lake City. City Hall said he died at the hospital.
Henry was the founder of the Park City Toastmasters Club, a group that advances someone’s public-speaking skills. A posting on the club’s website indicates Henry won public-speaking awards, including an evaluation contest in 2009 and what is known as a tall tale contest the year before.
“John was eloquent. He just loved story-telling, the spoken word,” said Stacy Dymalski, a member of the Park City Toastmasters Club. “He had a knack for speaking.”
Dymalski recalled a humorous speech by Henry that described the first time he met his wife. It won a second-place award in a district contest covering four states. It was “poignant and funny at the same time,” she said. She knew him for eight years.
“He would toast somebody by focusing on their inner beauty,” Dymalski said.
He was the owner of a company called Panorama Window Cleaning. A biography posted on the company’s website says he moved from Minnesota to Park City with his family in 1998, left in 2003 and then returned in 2005. The biography says he once was a pastor and supported a variety of causes through volunteer work. Henry was a frequent contributor to the KPCW radio show “Tales from the Wasatch Back.”
The snows this winter, particularly since New Year’s, have been some of the biggest in the Park City area in years as a relentless series of storms struck. There are numerous houses in Old Town and elsewhere where there appears to be several feet of snow piled on the roof. The danger of ice and snow sliding off a roof has long been known, but it is extraordinarily rare for someone to be struck when a slide occurs. Old Town poses more pronounced risks than elsewhere since the houses are tightly packed and snow shedding from a roof oftentimes lands on a neighboring property.
A fundraising campaign was launched on the website GoFundMe. The Henry page on the website indicates he is survived by a wife and two children. Money raised will assist the Henry family with expenses. The website link is: https://www.gofundme.com/jon-henry-memorial-fund.
A celebration of his life is planned at 3 p.m. on Thursday at Creekside Christian Fellowship on Bitner Road.
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Park City officials on Tuesday are scheduled to reconfigure a key stretch of road in Old Town. The alteration involves the section of Park Avenue between the 9th Street and Deer Valley Drive intersections.