Xavier Alexander Engle
1987 - 2014
{ "" }
Share Xavier's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Xavier Alexander Engle
Xavier Alexander Engle, 27, of Anchorage, died on November 30, 2014 in a tragic kayaking accident in Robe Canyon of the Stillaguamish River north of Seattle. A world-class whitewater kayaker, he was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico on July 27, 1987 and raised in Anchorage. He graduated from Anchorage West High School, and graduated cum laude with highest honors with a B.A. in Cellular Biochemistry from Dartmouth College in 2009. Xavier was a third-year Alaska WWAMI student at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle and had been accepted into the Global Masters of Public Health Program.
In 2010, he met his life partner Kaitlyn Mulhern Kennedy, now a third-year Idaho WWAMI medical student, in Ft. Collins, Colorado, where he was an Emerging Infectious Disease Fellow at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A traveler to nearly every continent, Xavier was fluent in Spanish and began kayaking the world in high school, with a semester studying in Chile. He was a member of Ledyard Canoe Club at Dartmouth, and while in college continued a kayaking career on rivers throughout North and South America, Africa, Siberia and New Zealand. He was especially proud to have paddled the North American Triple Crown in Alaska and British Columbia, making the only known springtime descent of the Stikine, running the Homathko in British Columbia and paddling seven top-to-bottom runs on the North Fork of the Payette in one day, dropping more vertical feet in a kayak than anybody ever has.
In 2007, Xavier spent a semester at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he studied international relations theory and comparative politics, and researched humanitarian aid-related foreign policymaking. While at LSOE, he received the Rick Angulo World Experience Award, which recognizes a Dartmouth student whose intellectual openness, enthusiasm and academic performance embody the spirit of off-campus programs.
He was the co-author of several published scientific papers, including in Tropical Doctor; Cancer Research; Blood and the Journal of Clinical Investigation. At the time of his death, he was working on additional academic projects, including one with Seattle Children's Hospital.
He volunteered at Children's Surgical Centre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; worked with immigrants at the Terry Reilly Health Services in Boise; and was a public health volunteer with Soft Power Health in rural Uganda.
In addition to kayaking, Xavier was passionate about backcountry skiing, hiking, mountain biking and everything else that got him into the mountains. He loved making music, and played classical clarinet, jazz piano, blues harmonica and guitar.
Xavier is survived by his life partner, Kaitlyn Mulhern Kennedy of Boise; mother Pamela Engle of Anchorage; half-brother Caio Gray of Marinwood, California; biological father Kirk Gray of Marinwood; biological mother Afra Roet of San Diego; aunt Lynne Nelson of Rockford, Illinois; cousins Jeffrey Nelson (Rob Cogorno) of Washington, D.C.; Jody Nelson Andruss of Madison, Wisconsin; and Julee Nelson (Paul Dean) of New York City. He is survived by nieces Ali Andruss of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Sophia Dean of New York; and nephew Eli Nelson Andruss of Madison.
A celebration of Xavier's life will be held in Seattle on Friday, December 12, at the University of Washington Club on the campus of the University of Washington, from 4-7pm. In Anchorage, a celebration will be held on Sunday, December 21 from 2-5pm at Tap Root Public House. An later celebration will be held in Boise.
The family suggests that donations may be made to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), American Rivers, or the charity of one's choice.

Published in Idaho Statesman on Dec. 7, 2014.
Please consider a donation, as requested by the family.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
8 entries
December 10, 2014
Dear Pam,I am so very sorry. This is a terrible and sad loss for you and for the world.My heart is with you. Love,Fred Harnisch.
December 9, 2014
I'm so very sorry for the loss of your precious Xavier. What an accomplished young man. May you find comfort in your treasured memories and in drawing close to God in prayer.
Psalm 94:18,19
December 9, 2014
I am so sorry for the loss of your talented and sweet son, life partner, sibling, friend. What a life of adventure he lived, and all the time he devoted to his career and education in helping others is so inspirational. He reminds me so much of my son David who died at 24 in a triathlon. David was also a world class kayaker. Xavier lived so much more in his short 27 years than many do in 72 years. Yet I know how it hurts so much that he left this earth way too soon. May God hold Xavier's memory, his smile, his laughter, close to your hearts as you begin a painful grief journey. Your family is in my prayers.
RaeAnn Norell
December 7, 2014
Our thoughts and prayers are with Xavier's family. We are so sorry.
Sandi and Randy Mills
December 7, 2014
We are familie of Afra and we are deaply sorry that such a young and beautiful boy had lost it from life on a way he did very much enjoy.
Nico and Hetty Roet
(The Netherlands)
Nico and Hetty Roet
December 5, 2014
I am very sorry for your loss. May you find comfort from God during this difficult time. We look forward to the fulfillment of John 6:40 very soon.
Mr S
December 4, 2014
I am truly sorry for the loss of such a bright star. My condolences to family and friends. I knew Xavier when he was a teenager and throug early college. He made enough impact on me that even though I did not know him well, I was shocked and devastated at the news of his death.

Peace be with you.
Jessica Harbke
December 4, 2014
He was and always will be an inspiration, I hope to follow in some of his steps.
Afra Roet
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences