(CBS4) — The day she found out her husband, Matt Nyman, was killed in an avalanche, was a Wednesday. Kris Crichton remembers that much — and also that she came home to flowers. They were from Matt.

Almost two weeks later, she received two more bouquets on Valentine’s Day. A dozen red roses included.

Also from Matt.

“I never knew this could exist. I feel spoiled,” Crichton told CBS4 of their love affair. “He loved me with a whole heart and fought for us to be together.”

Matt Nyman’s widow, Kris Crichton, is comforted by a family member as Nyman’s casket arrives at Denver International Airport on Friday. (credit: GoFundMe)

Nyman was one of three men who died Feb. 2nd in avalanche 10 miles outside Anchorage Alaska.

He had ordered the flowers for both occasions prior to the accident.

“He was a good man. He treated my son like his own. He was so giving of his time,” Crichton said.

An Alaska State Troopers helicopter hovers over the Northwest Couloir of Bear Mountain on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021 in Chugiak, Alaska, as authorities investigate the snowslide that killed three hikers. (credit: Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News)

 

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Nyman’s is a remarkable story of perseverance. He was almost killed in Iraq in 2005 when, as a member of the U.S. Army’s special forces, his helicopter crashed. He lost his lower right leg in the accident and the use of his left foot, in addition to torso and head injuries. He spent two years in a wheelchair, Crichton said.

“He was told he would never walk again,” Crichton said.

However, four years after the accident, Nyman returned to the Walter Reed Hospital office where he received that diagnosis – and waved to the doctor as he walked by.

(credit: Didrik Johnck)

That same year, Nyman, with a prosthesis, started challenging his legs to do more than they ever had. He signed on with The Heroes Project and climbed Denali.

“This was his first, and he was scared to death,” Crichton said. “What he came to realize was, this was time to be away from everything. And just to think. It’s just you and nature. It was so meditative for him.”

Nyman joined a group of other wounded warriors in 2010 for a Nepal summit that was made into a documentary film (“High Ground”). He developed into an accomplished climber, bagging the tallest peaks on four of the world’s seven continents.

(credit: Didrik Johnck)

“He is so amazing. I’ve never known anybody with more of a vice grip on his brain,” Crichton said of her husband’s focus. “‘Embrace the suck’ was one of his sayings. He always had a target in mind. He was always aware of the long game. He was in pain all the time – the prosthetics are never a perfect fit – but he never complained.”

Nyman previously lived in Colorado Springs while working at U.S. Northern Command (“Northcomm,” as commonly known) rooting out intel relating to South American drug cartels as he built the foundation for success after the military, according to his wife.

Matt Nyman, Kris Crichton and their three sons on Continental Divide near Nederland. (credit: Kris Crichton/Facebook)

Nyman’s friends and family will honor him at a service this Saturday. Members of Delta Force and his climbing community will be among them, Crichton said.

The event will be livestreamed here.

Eventually, as COVID-related delays subside, Nyman will be laid to rest in Washington D.C. at Arlington National Cemetery.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit his sons and offset funeral costs.

 

 

Logan Smith