Colton Gritzmacher of Belvidere, Illinois, died too young on Aug. 28, 2020 after a tragic accident. But in his 23 years, he lived life on his own terms and in the moment. Born July 18, 1997, Colton was the kind of person who could talk your ear off, who didn’t care what others thought of him, who rocked a mullet because he could, was always up for an adventure, stuck up for kids getting bullied and never turned down a dare. Colton was a firefighter for Boone County Fire Protection District #2, just like his dad. He had a special bond with both of his parents, Charmaine Cornwell and Kirk Gritzmacher, who would do just about anything for their son, including taking him on hunts for bears and sharks. It didn’t matter what Colton was doing — hunting, fishing, boating, target shooting, hanging at the campground, racing in a derby, fixing up his boat or tinkering with a broken down car — he surrounded himself with his people and enjoyed life in the present tense. He knew what true love felt like with girlfriend Makayla Janeway. Colton, who stood 6’3” and was nicknamed “Skinny” by the firehouse, was a former wrestler who knew how to carry his own weight. His three-year-old champion bird dog, The Death Star Darth Vader, was one of his greatest prides. He could convince you something was a “good bargain” even if it wasn’t, and loved quality where it mattered.
Colton was both young at heart and beyond his years. Seemingly never in a bad mood and with a goofy sense of humor, he was the kind of person who could fit into any friends group and had many of them. He loved his family fiercely, and they loved him back.
He was taken too soon at 23, but his life was well-lived.
Preceding him in death are grandfathers Joseph Cornwell and John Gritzmacher; uncle Matthew Johnson; and cousin Zachary Gritzmacher. He is survived by parents Charmaine (Todd Larson) Cornwell and Kirk Gritzmacher; girlfriend Makayla Janeway; grandmothers Virginia Gritzmacher and Judith Cornwell; siblings Kailah Rohda, Kent Larson, Evan Larson, Paige Larson; aunts and uncles Reid (Sue) Bullard, Nancy (Mike) Jackson, Mike Bullard, Danielle (Nick) Klaus, honorary aunt Kristin (Randy) Jones, Kent Gritzmacher, Kip (Trina) Gritzmacher, Krystal Pendzinski; nieces Payton Cruz and Zoey May.
The walk through no contact visitation for Colton will be held from 3:00-9:00 p.m. on Friday, September 4, 2020 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1045 Belvidere Road, Belvidere, IL ( Please enter door #4, near the playground). Colton’s funeral service with Firefighter Burial Rites, will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 5, 2020 at the Boone County Fairgrounds Grandstands (please enter the main gate #1). Social distancing and face mask are encouraged. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Boone County Fire Protection District #2 for personal protection equipment in Colton’s honor. Private family burial will be held in Garden Prairie Cemetery. To share a memory, please visit www.AndersonFCS.com