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Belmont Dad Killed in Ski Accident Remembered as Family Man, Dedicated Worker

An online fundraising page has been set up by Van Why's sister-in-law to raise money for his wife and sons. Late Wednesday afternoon more than $20,000 had been donated to the family through the YouCaring site.

By Bay City News Service: 

 A Belmont man who died in a ski accident at Northstar California ski resort on Valentine's Day was remembered Wednesday as a loving father and husband who was as passionate about his job as he was about skiing and being outdoors.

 Lindsey Van Why, 43, was on his last run of the day when he hit a tree on the "Cascades" intermediate-level trail at the ski resort near Truckee, sheriff's spokeswoman Dena Erwin said. Van Why was skiing with a friend who had skied ahead and reported the incident when his companion never made it down the trail.

 Van Why was found on the run with severe head and facial wounds. Emergency responders tried to save his life but were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene, she said.

 He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, she said.

 Van Why was a safety engineer at the Milpitas-based construction company XL Construction and was the safety manager for the company's concrete division, according to Mike Popp, safety director at the company. Popp said Van Why had been with the company for 10 years and had worked his way up to manager after starting in the field as a union carpenter.

 "Lindsey was so passionate about safety and keeping others safe," Popp said.

 According to Popp, Van Why was from Grass Valley, Calif., and had attended Chico State University as an undergraduate. He was a family man who coached his sons' Little League and soccer teams and was "heavily involved" in the school community, he said.

 "He was so into his kids and his family," Popp said.

 He leaves behind his wife, Robin, and two sons, Tanner, 9, and Cooper, 4.

 Tanner attends Cipriani Elementary School in Belmont. A staff member there said staff was notified about the death even though school is not in session this week.

 The ski accident took place during a three-day weekend trip he took with his family and family friends, Popp said.

 Van Why was an avid skier, according to Popp.

 "He was an amazing skier. That was one of the things he was most passionate about," he said.

 Popp said Van Why always wore a helmet while on the slopes, and Wednesday he was trying to figure out why this time was the exception. The workplace has been somber since Van Why's death was announced, he said.

 His colleagues are pulling together ideas to honor Van Why and devising ways to help Van Why's wife and children emotionally and financially. He said employees are collecting donations to give to his family, with some staff members giving pay for vacation days directly to the family.

 Van Why's family will receive his regular paycheck for the next few weeks. One employee made a sticker honoring Van Why that will go on employees' hard hats at construction sites, Popp said.

 According to Popp, his family for is organizing a memorial service sometime in March.

 Popp said he's has been checking in with Robin Van Why each day to see what she needs and to support her.

 An online fundraising page has been set up by Van Why's sister-in-law to raise money for his wife and sons. Late Wednesday afternoon more than $20,000 had been donated to the family through the YouCaring site.

  Family and friends are hoping to raise $50,000 to help the family with immediate expenses and create education savings accounts for the two boys. Donations can be made online at http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/support-the-van-why-family/139599.

Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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