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UW-River Falls student dies in snowmobile accident

February 27, 2015

UW-River Falls crop and soil science student Dylan Denk of Greenwood, Wisconsin, died in a snowmobile accident in the early morning of Sunday, Feb. 22.

The accident occurred just outside the township of Warner, Wisconsin, approximately five miles north of Greenwood, at 6:30 a.m., according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.

Denk’s snowmobile crashed into a tree after the machine went over a hill and spun out of control. Denk, age 22, was traveling alone and at a high speed, but was wearing a helmet, according to the Star Tribune. Denk was pronounced dead at the scene.

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 27, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenwood. A burial followed in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.

“I truly enjoyed having [Denk] in class at [UWRF] and working with him as his advisor in the crop science program,” said Veronica Justen, assistant professor of crop science. “Dylan had a great sense of humor and worked hard both in school and at the taxidermy shop in town. I will miss seeing him around campus.”

Denk was born on May 9, 1992, in Marshfield, Wisconsin, according to the River Falls Journal. Denk was raised on a family farm, northeast of Greenwood, and graduated from Greenwood High School in 2010.

According to the River Falls Journal, Denk enjoyed playing football and baseball, and was active in 4H and FFA. Denk also enjoyed spending time on the farm hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and four-wheeling.

Denk’s family has asked that donations be given in his name for a memorial to be established at a later date. Condolences may be expressed on the Cuddie Funeral Home website at: www.cuddiefh.com.

Many friends and family members have already expressed their love for Denk.

“Words alone can’t express the sadness and sorrow in learning of [Denk’s] passing,” said family friend Tom Sowieja, on the Cuddie Funeral Home website. “An amazing kid, gone too soon, and a true reflection on the wonderful job of parenting and family loving, to make him the wonderful person he was.”

According to an email sent to all UWRF students from communications and external relations Director Blake Fry, the university has reached out to the Denk family for support.

“If you would like to share your thoughts and condolences, you may leave a card or note for the Denk family with the office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, located in Hathorn Hall, and we will forward those messages to them,” Fry said in the email.

Fry also said that UWRF Student Health and Counseling Services, located in 211 Hagestad Hall, has staff who are available to speak with regarding Denk’s death. Fry also provided a link for “Coping with Trauma, Tragedy, and Death,” which can be found here: http://www.uwrf.edu/StudentHealthAndCounseling/CounselingServices/CopingWithTragedy.cfm.

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