The family of Alex Sills, who was the victim in the fatal June 11 motorcycle crash on Highway 82, have announced the time and place of his celebration of life.
It will take place Wednesday, June 19, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., on the Aspen Mountain Sundeck. The dress is “come as you are casual definitely no ties!” According to the invitation.
Drinks and small bites will be served. The first gondola up is at 5:30 p.m. The celebration starts at 6 p.m. the last gondola down is 8:30 p.m.
The Sills family was a tight-knit but decidedly compact unit since moving to the United States from Australia about 25 years ago. After raising their two children in Philadelphia, Debbie and Richard Sills landed in Boulder, with a second home in Carbondale’s River Valley Ranch. Son Alex, 30, was happily ensconced in Aspen, and daughter Georgia, a recent Yale graduate, was hired for a job in Denver.
The family of four looked to be expanding their small circle as Georgia was engaged to be married, and Alex was involved in a serious relationship, his parents said Friday.
“We were thrilled to have both kids close to us,” said Richard Sills.
Then reality hit hard with a middle-of-the-night fatal motorcycle accident that was relayed via a 5 a.m. knock on the parents’ door from Boulder police. Richard and Deb Sills were told that their 30-year-old son had failed to negotiate a curve while driving eastbound on Highway 82 just hours earlier on June 11. Alex went off the right side of the roadway, collided with a guard rail and was ejected off the 2008 Kawasaki motorcycle he was riding. Sills was deceased on the scene, according to Scott Thompson, chief of Basalt Fire. The call initially was received by emergency dispatch at 1:17 a.m.
The Colorado State Patrol was notified five minutes later. Public information officer Josh Lewis said that speed, alcohol and drugs were being looked at as possible factors.
Yesterday, Sills’ parents were trying to piece together the events of the evening and understand why their son was riding eastbound on Highway 82 at that time of night. Friends had seen him earlier at work, in Aspen’s New York Pizza, until at least 10 p.m.; Sills had most recently been living in Old Snowmass, which is closer to Aspen than the accident site.
“We don’t know why he was coming upvalley,” said Richard Sills. The family also doesn’t know whether Alex, or a friend, owned the motorcycle he was riding at the time. Richard Sills said the motorcycle was being held as part of the investigation. An update was not available from the Colorado State Patrol on Friday.
His parents said Sills had attended Purdue University after graduating from Germantown Academy near Philadelphia. He left college after two years, telling his parents, “I want to be where my real heart is and to live in [the Roaring Fork Valley]. We supported that decision,” recalled Deb Sills.
The family had been visiting this area since the kids were young. “Eventually we bought a house in River Valley Ranch so we could spend more time here. We subsequently moved to Boulder,” she said.
“He got us all out here in one way, shape or form,” she added.
With daughter Georgia’s recent hiring by the Deloitte consulting firm it appeared the entire family was going to reunite in the West. “We were thrilled to have Alex and her close by. But it wasn’t to be,” Deb Sills said.
Alex Sills was known for his love of jambands, especially Phish, but his parents said his musical tastes were broad and spanned many genres.
“He played classical and jazz on the piano as a little boy and until he was about 15 or 16," she recalled. “His tastes ran from Frank Sinatra to Ella Fitzgerald to Phish. He really loved live music.”
Alex’s other long-time love was dog Macey, who he acquired eight years ago, when she was a puppy. His parents are currently caring for the dog and Deb Sills said, “I think she’s wondering when he’s coming back. She’s been his constant companion over that time.”
Sills worked at New York Pizza almost from the time he arrived in Aspen about eight years ago, his parents said, though he had forays working in ski shops, for a ski manufacturer and at a more serious job in Denver.
But he missed the valley, his friends and the lifestyle here.
“New York Pizza has been a constant for him. He really got on with the people there. They became his extended family,” Deb Sills said.
Earlier this year, Alex started his own window-washing business and was picking up accounts from other local window businesses.
His parents said a trip was planned for this summer where Alex, his girlfriend, Georgia and her fiancé were going to travel to Australia to meet his grandparents.
“Tragically, Alex won’t be able to join us,” Deb Sills said.
Richard Sills said the family has been overwhelmed by the support they have received from the state patrol, police in Boulder and Michael Buglione from the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office.
“We could not have received more considerate support during this difficult time,” he said.