Luhr brewed up a cherished life
Matt Luhr, the well known brewmaster at the Dillon Dam Brewery in Silverthorne, suffered a brain aneurism three weeks ago and died at St. Anthony’s Central Hospital in Denver on Thursday.
Matthew J. Luhr was born in Oak Park, Ill., on Jan. 12, 1962, the youngest of six children. He grew up in the Chicago suburb of Palatine and attended St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights. He received a bachelor of science degree in soils science from the University of Illinois in Champaign in 1984.
One rainy night in the summer of 1967, when Luhr was 5 years old, he came to Summit County for the first time while on a road trip with his family. The next morning, the sun was shining, and the Luhr family discovered the beauty of this area and fell in love with Summit County. Soon, the family bought property in Mesa Cortina and began constructing the family vacation home. Matt spent all of his childhood summer vacations in Summit County and learned to ski at the local resorts.
After graduating from college, Luhr moved to Summit County permanently, joining his older brother, Tom. He held jobs at various local restaurants, including the Sunshine Cafe and Willow Creek Cookery, where he learned about the restaurant business.
In college he developed a passion for beer and learned everything he could about brewing. Eventually, he was able to parlay his home-brewing experience into a new career as brewmaster. He held that post at the Dam Brewery for about 10 years. His beer creations earned numerous awards and medals. His final triumph was winning a gold medal for his Sweet George’s brown ale at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver two weeks ago.
Luhr was well known and liked in Summit County. He leaves behind numerous grieving friends and his partner, Rusty Simmons of Heeney. Matt will be especially missed by his beloved malamute, Syndy Lu.
He is preceded in death by his brother, Jim, who died in January of 2007 and his mom, Mary Therese, who died in July. He is survived by his dad, Robert Luhr, of Grayslake, Ill., his brothers Bob of Boulder, Tom of Silverthorne, and Bill of San Francisco, as well as his sister, Sue, of Vernon Hills, Ill.
On Sept. 29, Luhr’s co-workers at the brewery found him in a sudden altered state of consciousness. After evaluation at the hospital in Frisco, it was determined that he had suffered a brain aneurism and he was flown to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver.
There he underwent several neurovascular intervention procedures including a stent placement. Unfortunately, over several weeks, he experienced a number of subsequent strokes and hemorrhages leading to brain death.
Luhr was a registered organ donor, so his death was able to provide for life-saving transplants for several other people.
His partner, Rusty, his dad, and siblings were able to be present in his final days.
Friends and family gathered at the brewery on Sunday to memorialize and pay tribute to Luhr.
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