Community, family, friends gather to honor two avalanche victims

BUCKLEY, Wash. – About 100  people paid their respects Tuesday to two men killed in an avalanche. The bodies of Bonney Lake Police Officer James Larsen and Air Force veteran Zachary Roundtree both arrived at Wells Funeral Home in Buckley Tuesday afternoon.

Underneath the American flag, dozens of people ushered home two men, one who served his country and the other his community.

“One day they’re there and one day they’re gone,” said Bonney Lake resident Laura Hines.

And in an instant both lives taken while snowmobiling after an avalanche struck near Esmeralda Peak on Saturday.

“We heard that he saw the avalanche coming and he yelled out 'avalanche' to warn his buddies, so that was just his nature. He was always helping people like in his police work,” said James Larsen’s sister, Jennifer Larsen.


Jennifer says her brother was the baby of the family but had the biggest personality.  Both Jennifer and James chose law enforcement careers.

“We’ve seen it and been in processions before, but my family hasn’t been involved in this before so they are just amazed and overwhelmed from the support of the community,” said Larsen.

The community gathered to support James and Zachary.  After seven years in the Air Force and traveling the world, the outdoors man returned home.

“Zachary loved hunting, fishing, quading, dirt bike, snowmobiling. Zachary’s life was outside,” said Zachary Roundtree’s father, Curt Roundtree.

Curt says Zachary, at 27, lived a full life of adventure.

“He said, dad I want to live life, life is not going to live me,” said Curt.

And as these families celebrate the lives of these two friends, Jennifer says she’ll remember the fun times.

“It was a crab feed about 300 people. He showed up in a baby blue tux that he had bought and then a top hat,” said Larsen.

And it’s those stories and memories these families and friends say will help them get through the hard times without Zach and James.

Larsen’s family would like donations in his name sent to the Nephrology Clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

A third man who was on the same snowmobiling trip remains at Harborview Medical Center with serious injuries.  A fourth snowmobiler only suffered minor injuries.