Family of hiker who died falling off of a cliff remember his charm

Posted at 10:46 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 16:40:49-04

It was just another Friday afternoon in July, when three friends ventured out onto Oakfield Ledge state trail. Pierce Neighbor, Xxavier Johnson and Spencer Depies were headed to the high cliffs for some hiking. Both Pierce and Xxavier had made the trip many times but it was a first for Spencer.

"They said it was breathtaking and it was a little steep and dangerous. But they'd been out there many times," says Depies.

One of the men though, Pierce Neighbor, was far from a stranger to these woods or the cliffs that butt up next to them. This was his spot according to friends and family.

"He loved nature. He loved the wilderness, trees, animals, the river, anything that had to do with nature. That was Pierce," says Pierce’s mother Tristina Kasper.

But one wrong move along the ledge changed countless people’s lives forever. The hiking crew was in the middle of snapping pictures of each other, when Pierce made a bold move that would change everything.

"He saw a branch that he wanted to use for a walking stick and he yanked it and he just rolled off," says Johnson.

Pierce fell nearly 40 feet. He died with his friend Xxavier at his side within just 40 minutes.

"I told him it was going to be OK. I told him I loved him. I told him he wasn't alone. I told him we were right there with him," says Johnson.

Today his friends and family are sharing their story of loss and love.

"He had a heart of gold," says Kasper.

So that everyone can know what they gained, by Pierce being in their life.

"He was amazing, absolutely amazing. Very caring and loving," adds his mother.

"He's too good of a person and it wasn't right. It happens I guess. The good die young cause it wasn't his time," says friend Johnson.

Pierce leaves behind countless friends, aunts, uncles, his mother, and two younger brothers. Memorials for Pierce and his memory are being asked to be sent to Jo Ann Schmitz, Pierce’s grandmother at 83 6th Street, Fond du Lac, WI 54935.