SALIDA, CO—A 57-year-old rural Paullina native drowned Friday, July 5, in a rafting accident near the central Colorado city of Salida.
A private family interment of ashes for Douglas Wayne Maass will be held Sunday, July 21, at Liberty Township Cemetery near Calumet.
A gathering open to all to celebrate his life will follow at 3:30 p.m. at Maass Angus Farms located at 4814 Starling Ave., about eight miles southeast of Paullina.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, six of its river rangers at the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area responded to a report of a man seen floating face down in the Arkansas River near Bear Creek Rapid southeast of Salida.
The AHRA rangers rescued the man — later identified as Maass — and began lifesaving measures as emergency medical personnel arrived, taking over care of Maass.
However, he never recovered and eventually was pronounced dead at the scene.
Although the incident scene was in Fremont County, CO, the remains were immediately turned over to the Chaffee County, CO, coroner for identification and determination of a cause of death.
The AHRA search and rescue operation was initiated at around 12:45 p.m. after a 911 call reported a private raft had flipped and five people were in the water.
Kayakers floating with the private raft were able to rescue four of the people, but the fifth was carried downstream.
AHRA staff — along with the Chaffee County Fire Protection District, Chaffee County Emergency Medical Services, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, the Salida Police Department, the Salida Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado State Patrol — began searching on land and in the river.
“We offer our condolences to the family of this person,” said AHRA operations manager Tom Waters. “And I appreciate the efforts of the six CPW rangers and all the other responders who initiated the search and rescue and tried to save this man. Sadly, they were unsuccessful.”
According to his obituary, Maass — who lived in Austin, TX — had been rafting with his family when the accident occurred.
“He loved going on adventures with family and friends, creating new experiences and bringing his loved ones along with his excitement and encouragement,” his obituary stated.
Maass was born on Feb. 1, 1962, to Wayne and Faye Maass of rural Paullina.
The younger Maass graduated from Sutherland High School in 1980.
He then attended Iowa State University in Ames, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering in 1984.
Following graduation from college, Maass moved to Texas to start his career in the semiconductor industry, starting at Texas Instruments, where he met his wife. He married Sue Segelke in 1988.
Maass is survived by his wife; their two children, Katie and Nick; and many other family members and friends.