Returning from dinner, weekend guests discovered her body at the bottom of a 77-step hardwood staircase connecting the four stories of her house on Tomboy Road, which undulates along a mountainside. Her front door is on the top floor.
“When someone dies of a long illness, it gives you time to process that; it’s even a blessing,” Connie Self, a movie producer and friend of Ms. Fox, told The Telluride Daily Planet. “It’s hard to find the blessing in this. It’s a huge reminder of how vulnerable we are, how risk is everywhere.”
Kim Reynolds, a personal coach, also grappled philosophically with the nature of her friend’s death.
“I recommend not remembering how she died (which everyone is fixated on),” Ms. Reynolds said in an email, “and, rather, remember how she lived.”
Charlotte Conant Fox was born on May 10, 1957, in Greensboro, N.C., the only child of Ann Robinson Black and Jared Fox, whose father founded Blue Bell, the manufacturer of Wrangler jeans. Her parents divorced when she was young.
An expert water skier and equestrian as a child, Ms. Fox graduated from Hollins College, now Hollins University, Roanoke, Va., with a degree in American studies. She planned on then spending a year in the Rockies mulling what to do next.
“She never came back,” her mother told The News & Record of Greensboro, N.C., in 1996. “That’s where the mountain climbing began.”