Kevin Campbell Auchter, a former chef who found his dream job in blowing up buildings, died Thursday when part of a concrete storage silo fell on him at a demolition site. He was 22.
Mr. Auchter, a Glen Arm resident, died in an accident at a mine in Albers, Ill., about 30 miles southeast of St. Louis.
He was employed by Controlled Demolition Inc., a Baltimore County company known for its implosions of public housing high-rises and other buildings.
"He was passionate about working with this company," said Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition Inc. "Even the lifers, the ones that have been with the company a long time, admitted after meetings that this was a kid to be reckoned with."
Mr. Auchter, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., attended boarding schools in Connecticut and New Hampshire before enrolling as a sophomore at Dulaney High School.
After graduating from Dulaney in 1995, he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
His training there led to jobs at Peerce's Plantation, Hillendale Country Club and Chef's Expressions, a catering company.
But he tired of the food industry, and last year began working for construction contractors as part of a search for a new career, said his mother, Teresa Auchter Papademetriou.
About three months ago, he was hired by Controlled Demolition -- and soon found himself in Philadelphia, participating in the demolition of twin high-rise public housing buildings.
At 6 feet 2 inches tall and about 240 pounds, Mr. Auchter had the brawn to handle the large drills used to bore holes in concrete for sticks of dynamite. He also was a quick learner, Mr. Loizeaux said.
"I can't remember when I saw such a bright person that young approach us for work," he said. "Every single task that was put in front of him, he mastered at a frightening pace."
Mr. Auchter was one of two workers who died in the accident in Illinois, the cause of which remains under investigation.
Mr. Loizeaux said that Mr. Auchter was complying with safety regulations and had no role in causing the accident, the second fatality in the company's 52-year history.
"He died doing what he wanted to do," Mrs. Papademetriou said. "He truly had found his niche."
She said her son would be buried with a pair of drumsticks -- reminders of his love of music. Mr. Auchter played drums in a rock band known as The Negatives.
Services are scheduled for Tuesday at the Hardage-Giddons Funeral Home in Jacksonville, Fla. A memorial service is scheduled at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hereford-Mount Carmel United Methodist Church, 16931 York Road, Monkton.
Besides his mother, Mr. Auchter is survived by his father, Thorne Auchter, and stepmother, Barbara Auchter, both of Boston, Va.; his stepfather, James E. Papademetriou, of Glen Arm; maternal grandparents, the Rev. Roy and Sammye Campbell, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; his paternal grandmother, Julia Auchter, of Jacksonville, Fla.; three brothers, Ken Smith, of Boston, Va., Dax Dorrough, of Orlando, Fla., and Anthony Auchter, of Lausanne, Switzerland; and two sisters, Alexandra and Anastasia Papademetriou, of Glen Arm.