Missoula’s ‘Dancing Man’ Has Passed Away
Reports that a man passed away during 'Out to Lunch' in Missoula's Caras Park on Wednesday, June 13 have been verified by the Missoula County Sheriff's Office.
According to a release from Sheriff and Coroner TJ McDermott, the man who passed away was 77-year-old Ronald Kephart, who suffered a cardiovascular issue and was transported to the hospital from Caras Park. Mr. Kephart reportedly died while at the hospital.
Eye-witnesses who saw the incident noted that Mr. Kephart looked familiar saying that he was part of Missoula's famous dancing couple, a fixture at 'Out to Lunch' for many years.
I was sitting in the seat directly behind him when it happened," said eyewitness David Eliason. "He was dancing, paused, and then slowly went to the ground and closed his eyes. His wife cradled his head was talking to him for only a minute until a ER nurse who was nearby began CPR. EMS took over after about 5 minutes and continued CPR. They also used a defibrillator but couldn’t seem to get a pulse back. He eventually was put into the ambulance about 20 minutes after he first collapsed. I feel sad for his wife. She was right there during the whole ordeal. Still though, something kind of poetic about him going while dancing at out to lunch. He was such a fixture of Missoula. Downtown won’t quite be the same."
The Missoula Downtown Association also issued a statement and will be honoring Kephart tonight with a moment of silence:
“Mr. Kephart was one of Downtown Missoula’s biggest enthusiasts, attending virtually every public live music event in the heart of our community,” said DMP Executive Director Linda McCarthy. “His joyful and inspiring dance will be missed by many Missoulians.While we mourn the passing of this intriguing individual, we find comfort knowing he was doing what he loved when his life on this Earth came to a close. A moment of silence will take place this evening at the Downtown ToNight Summer Series in Caras Park to recognize the passing of this special man."