From first feisty bluegill, outdoorswoman hooked
Rocky Mountain News
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Author: Gary Massaro, Rocky Mountain News
Kylee Thyfault was as much at home outdoors as in.
She began her outdoor hobby late compared to her brothers, Mike and Jay, who went hunting early on with their dad, Ron Hellbusch.
"Kylee's first fishing experience came on a small farm pond west of Brighton, fishing with her parents and brothers, catching feisty bluegills, at the age of 9," Hellbusch wrote in a eulogy. "That same summer she and her brothers with my dad hooked her first small brook trout in a South Park stream."
Two years later, she impressed the whole clan. While they were trolling for walleye, Kylee hooked into a catfish, which she landed - practically unheard of, catching a cat while trolling.
The trips were curtailed last year when Kylee was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It spread to her liver and claimed her on Nov. 15. She was 43.
She was born Sept. 26, 1965, in Wheat Ridge to Ron Hellbusch and Judy George.
She graduated from Brighton High School in 1984.
She worked for Delta Air Lines from 1988-2006 as a flight attendant. And she worked as a special education aide at Brighton Charter School from 2006-08.
She and Mike Thyfault met at a high school reunion. They were married Valentine's Day 2005.
Kylee and her mother founded Creative Occasions, a planning business for family parties and events. She also was partners with a cousin in a buffalo herd operation on a Nebraska ranch.
When she became ill, she met the cancer with the same grit she showed in all things in the rest of her life.
She went on a hunting trip with her brothers a few months before she died.
It wasn't just fishing that Kylee enjoyed. She went bird hunting - pheasants and ducks - with her family when she was a child. She hunted antelope as well.
She quickly learned it wasn't so much the fishing or the hunting, but the going that was important. She became an observer of wildlife and nature, something she first zoomed in on when the family took its annual trip to Yellowstone National Park for a week when Kylee and her brothers were pre-teens.
She passed on the interest to her children.
She went on a canoe trip on the Gunnison River with her dad and daughter, Jade. Father and daughter taught Jade how to capsize a canoe.
"Kylee's determination, her focus and intensity for life supported her well over the last 10 months," her father said. "Her spirit overshadowed her daily cancer pain and gradual decline in health. Kylee and her family came to realize there are some battles we do not win.
"Pancreatic and liver cancer are formidable foes. And while they prevailed on Nov. 15, they will not dim that spirit Kylee captured in her life and in ours. We will cling to that positive nature she embraced among family and all she knew in life."
Survivors include her husband, Mike, of Brighton; daughters Jade and Brittaney, both of Brighton; her father, Ron Hellbusch, of Westminster; her mother, Judy George, of Erie; and two brothers, Mark, of Superior, and Jay, of Helena, Mont.