LIVINGSTON, Mont. (KTVQ) — Community members in Livingston, Montana are still trying to process their loss days after Craig Clouatre hiked into the mountains and was attacked and killed by a grizzly bear.
“It’s kind of hard to imagine it yet. I don’t think for most of us it feels very real. It’s more like a long weekend and we haven’t seen him yet," said Bev Dawson, a Clouatre family friend.
Clouatre was out hiking with a friend on Thursday when the two separated temporarily. Clouatre never made it back to their designated meeting place. Search efforts were started that night, and authorities found Clouatre's body the next day.
Craig’s wife Jamie is now responsible for raising the family’s four kids, ranging in age from nine to 14.
Other than being an avid outdoorsman who hiked hundreds of backcountry miles, Dawson said Clouatre was a force of positivity.
“His trademark would be his smile and the way he brought light to people. Always positive, even when things were in the dumps for him, he boosted the folks around him and that’s a huge thing to do without," Dawson said.
This isn’t the first time the Clouatre family has dealt with tragedy. The community rallied around the family in January 2020 when their Livingston home was demolished in a fire. They just moved into a new place about nine months ago.
“It’s really important that people remember them. Jamie is on her own now with those kids and she’s going to need a lot of help for a long time coming," Dawson said.
While Craig worked, Jamie was able to stay at home and homeschool their four kids. Now, that might have to change, Dawson said.
While the pain from the loss is still raw, Dawson said she hopes other people won’t be afraid to spend time outdoors.
“All of my people and Craig’s people are outdoor people. We’re going to continue to be out in the wilderness. It fuels us. It feeds us. It’s like air and you have to breathe it. I’m sure we’re all going to be extra loud in the woods and maybe we’ll curtail the places we go or going along. But I know it’s not going to stop anybody I know from going out," Dawson said.
This story was originally reported by Mitch Lagge on ktvq.com.