FLORENCE — Aedan Thomas Snead found his final peace on Sunday, July 7, in his hometown of Florence. He was 21.

What Aedan chose to do, he did exceedingly well. And what he chose to do most was explore Montana’s wilds and collect its bounties. His Facebook and Instagram feeds were a virtual trophy hall of game and fish of all types, mixed together with photos of the sheds, huckleberries and morels that he gathered during his long treks in the woods.

Working as a taxidermist at Game Trails Wildlife Studio, he helped populate the trophy walls of others with stunningly lifelike and unique mounts. The work drew on both his deep respect for nature and his artistic sensibilities. With just five years of experience he managed to win top honors in his category and division at the 2019 Montana Taxidermists Association convention, for a whitetail deer mount that he hadn’t even prepared for competition.

Aedan was, at once, a free spirit and a kindhearted friend whose quiet ease made friends and family feel more relaxed and secure when he was around. He never burdened others with any of his own worries, and was always the first to volunteer when help was needed — always with that impish grin creasing his freckles. He learned a tireless work ethic from his father Mark, with whom he spent many long days cutting firewood and tending chickens, cows, pigs and more. From his mother Tisha he learned his deep kindness and generosity towards others.

A 2016 graduate of Sentinel High School, Aedan is survived by his father Mark (Jasmine) Snead, Florence; his mother Tisha Snead, Missoula; maternal grandmother Ella Mae Smith; sisters Shayla, Miya, and Milah; aunts DaLynn Nickell, Amy (Donnie) Wilkins, Nicole Smith and Ora Smith; uncles Elijah, Patrick, Jaramee, and Adam Smith; cousins Xander, Kyler, Sylvia and Julian; niece Lily; faithful Labrador Axle and numerous extended family members. He was preceded in death by his grandmother Patricia McDougall and his grandfather Bill Smith.

A celebration of Aedan’s life with reception to follow will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at Garden City Funeral Home.

A memorial fund in Aedan’s name has been established at the Park Side Credit Union.

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