Adrian Eggen, 90, passed away peacefully at his residence in Big Sky, on Feb. 9.
Adrian was born Jan. 22, 1922, in Bern, Switzerland to Jakob and Rosali Eggen-Gertsch. He was the youngest of six sons. His father died when Adrian was two years old, and his mother and brothers worked hard to keep the farm and family together. Growing up, Eggen helped his brother Jakob on the farm, mostly tending the cows during the summer months on the alp.
He joined the Swiss Army during WWII, and was a proud member of the rifle club and was a very sharp shooter. After WWII, Adrian continued to help his brother on the farm during the summers. The rest of the year, he worked logging or helping his brother, Fritz, with the family bakery. Adrian completed a specialized logging training in Switzerland before making his big voyage west to America.
In spring of 1953, Adrian and fellow Swiss loggers arrived in New York on the ship “Queen Elizabeth.” He worked for several years for Wyssen Logging Co. in Idaho.
A few years later, he returned proudly to Switzerland with two chainsaws in his backpack. As there weren’t any chainsaws like his around the mountain valley at that time, it impressed his colleagues. Adrian stayed for the winter in Switzerland before returning to the U.S. permanently in the early 1960s.
Initially making his home in Idaho, he purchased logging equipment and started a career as an entrepreneur. As the logging industry declined, Adrian used his skills splicing cables on ski lifts around the country.
Through work-related connections, Adrian landed a job in Big Sky in the early 1980s. He became a legend there for his dedicated hard work helping to install most of the ski lifts at Big Sky Resort.
Adrian was very happy working and living in Big Sky, and he made many life-long friendships. He enjoyed photographing wildlife and filming his job sites. He was a bachelor all his life and was a very outgoing person who loved socializing. He also liked to travel, and had a passion for Volkswagon Diesel Rabbits. He was known as “Grandpa” among many Big Sky employees. He lived on his own all the way up to his 90th birthday.
Adrian was preceded in death by his mother and father, and his brothers, Christian, Fritz, Hans, Arnold and Jakob.v
He is survived by several nieces and nephews in Switzerland, and his great nephew Andreas (Aimee) Heimberg and their two children of Boulder, Mont. Adrian leaves behind his very close friends from Big Sky, Ambrose Locker, Meghan Coppola, Albi Birches, Tom Stetzner, Jerry Crans, Kris and Curtis Sundeen, and a very special friend, Monita Yep (Alhambra, Calif.). The exceptional care Adrian received from his friends, family, and wonderful hospice nurses, who all made it possible for him to stay at his home through his last days, is greatly appreciated.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Meadow Village Chapel at 2 p.m. A reception will follow at the Huntley Lodge Dining Room at Big Sky Resort at 4 p.m.
An additional memorial service is planned to take place in Switzerland later this spring.
– Andy Heimberg