Born Feb. 22, 1987, in Fairbanks, Alaska, Cody Roman Dial died in July 2014, when a tree fell on his camp in a remote off-trail canyon in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. He'd been missing nearly two years when a gold-miner discovered his remains in May 2016. As he traveled through Latin America over seven months in 2014; he emailed friends and family about monarch butterflies in Mexicos Sierra Madre, whale sharks in the Caribbean, Mayan ruins in Guatemalas Peten, canyons in Honduras and narcos in Nicaragua. Physical, intellectual, family and friend-centered, he enjoyed packrafting whitewater, reading as research and recreation and gaming D&D. He liked scuba-diving and skate-skiing, modern music and cooking as an act of love. He wanted to hug and be hugged, to lift weights and climb rock un-roped, to swim and explore. He told great stories, less about him than about those around him. He had a habit of scratching his head with both hands, of thinking before speaking. He shared his treats. He didn't complain. He pitched-in to help. He went to Chester Valley Elementary School, Steller Secondary School, and College of William and Mary on a scholarship. After graduating in biology in 2009, he moved back to Anchorage, Alaska, took a year off, then entered a graduate program at Alaska Pacific University. Living in Anchorage, he commuted by mountain bike year-round for well-over a decade and pioneered whitewater packrafting. He once raced across the Talkeetna Mountains in the Wilderness Classic carrying his packraft on his bike, and then his bike on his packraft. He worked for 10 years at the USGS' Molecular Ecology Lab. For his masters degree he sequenced the DNA of a thumb-sized isopod called Saduria entomon. He published peer-reviewed articles on the DNA of snowy owls and the biogeography of ice worms. He did field-work, too, catching shrews and voles in Gates of the Arctic, Cape Krusenstern, Bering Land Bridge, Nogahabara Sand Dunes, the North Slope and on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Cody Roman leaves behind his sister, Jazz; mother, Peggy; and father, Roman, all in Anchorage; his uncles, aunts and cousins in Fairbanks, the Lower 48 and London; and his grandparents back East. A memorial is set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016, at the Dial's home. Dress for the weather.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on Dec. 18, 2016.