Brothers killed in rafting accident loved trips with father
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Cash Troyer dreamed of getting his pilot’s license one day.
His younger brother Grady longed to score goals on the soccer field.
The two young siblings, 9 and 7, died during a weekend rafting trip with their father on the Grande Ronde River in Wallowa County, police and family said.
Clinton Troyer fought frigid waters and a swift current in an attempt to rescue his boys after they were launched from the vessel, authorities said.
The tragedy occurred near the end of one of the many outdoor adventures the three shared together through the wilds of northeastern Oregon.
“Dad loved those little boys with every ounce of his being,” their older sister Remington Frazier, 22, told The Oregonian/OregonLive in an interview Tuesday.
Cash was a third-grader at Payette Primary School in Payette, Idaho, where he lived with his and Remington’s mother Toiresa Frazier, the sister said.
Grady lived with their father and his mom, Brooke Neal-Troyer. He attended Imbler Elementary School outside La Grande, where his last day of first grade was Friday, according to Frazier.
He would have celebrated his eighth birthday this Sunday.
Though the brothers lived more than 100 miles apart, they formed an inseparable bond during the excursions their dad took them on, Frazier said.
The three hunted and fished together around Mt. Emily, Red’s Horse Ranch and the Eagle Cap Wilderness, Frazier said. Clinton taught his boys how to build campfires in forests and how to change ATV tires in driveways.
The two siblings also loved to tinker with the many lawnmowers and weed eaters Clinton Troyer owned as part of his landscaping business in La Grande, their sister said.
“My dad’s goal was to raise them to be active young men,” Frazier said.
Cash grew obsessed with airplanes, an interest he cultivated during the hours he spent on the tarmac of Ontario’s municipal airport, where his maternal grandfather worked.
Grady’s soccer game flourished on the fields at Eastern Oregon University, where he played midfielder on the Grande Ronde Valley Timbers community club.
But their energies and interests converged on weekends and summers with their dad. Rafting was one of the activities the three Troyers most enjoyed.
“Once the weather got warm that’s what they loved to do,” Frazier said.
Clinton and his sons were on a stretch of the Grande Ronde River near Troy on Sunday when their raft hit a rock at Martins Misery Rapids and sent Cash and Grady into the frigid water.
Clinton Troyer leapt in after them, but they were swept away by the swift current before he could grab them, police said. A different rafting group later found the children, but they could not be revived.
Others pulled Clinton Troyer from the water screaming and suffering from hypothermia, Frazier said.
Police did not say whether the boys had been wearing life preservers. The incident remains under investigation, an Oregon State Police spokesman said.
Their families in Oregon and Idaho remain in shock, even as the rural communities they come from rally behind them. There will be a candlelight vigil Tuesday night in La Grande for Cash and Grady.
Frazier has also launched a GoFundMe campaign for her father, mother and stepmother to help offset costs and expenses in the coming months. It had raised more than $12,000 by Tuesday afternoon.
“They were such sweet, good little people” Frazier said. “I’m going to miss them.”
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com