DIXMONT – Kevin Paul Cookson, 35, died Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, while undergoing surgery. Kevin was born July 20, 1971, to Frank and Reta Cookson. Kevin attended Hampden Academy and Nokomis High School. Kevin loved the outdoors and spent summers rafting for Unicorn Expeditions and winters working at Sugarloaf Mountain. Kevin lived for the joy of being in nature. He loved skiing, hiking, recumbent biking, kayaking, traveling and animals. Any place he could be outside either alone, with friends, or his dog made him happy. Kevin had an incredibly positive outlook on life. He suffered a stroke and underwent heart surgery as a result of Marfan sydrome in January 2001. Despite predictions of being completely disabled, he amazed everyone by regaining his independence. He worked diligently at regaining his former strength and continued to pursue an active outdoor lifestyle. His courage and bravery enabled him to live the last six years with enthusiasm, confidence and independence. He never let his limitations affect his attitude, his relationships with others, or his love of life. Kevin was a very gregarious and lovable guy who made friends everywhere he went. He always had a smile on his face and a no worries attitude. He loved adventures and enjoyed hearing and telling great stories. He knew every hill and hollow in Dixmont and usually had a humorous anecdote for every adventure. Although he couldn’t whitewater raft anymore, he still delighted in watching old videos of himself and his friends in the wildest rapids on the West branch of the Penobscot and he enjoyed going to the river to watch boats go through the rapids. Kevin started skiing in high school and it quickly became an all-consuming winter passion. Skiing was second nature to Kevin. He loved cross-country, downhill and telemark skiing. His enthusiasm for skiing influenced everyone he knew. Kevin reveled in every snowfall and could barely wait to get out in the storm. Kevin was a man of few words; specific tastes and was a confident decision-maker. He lived fearlessly and spent much of his time reassuring the women in his life that he was just fine. He was fiercely independent and took great pride in that fact. No walls could contain Kevin’s spirit and he was constantly seeking new adventures in his life. The progression of Marfan syndrome caused Kevin to be hospitalized in December and require surgery. Kevin’s miraculous ability to survive against all odds makes it difficult for us to believe that he is gone. We are all very shocked and saddened that Kevin is no longer with us. We have all learned something from Kevin throughout his life, especially the last six years. Kevin taught us all about true courage, kindness and optimism through his determination and good humor. Kevin was predeceased by his mother, Reta Cookson; and his brother, Rob Cookson. He is survived by his father and step-mother, Frank and Sheila Cookson of Dixmont; brother, David Cookson; sister, Diana Cookson; nieces and nephews, Ian Connole, Dylan Connole, Frank Cookson, Lauryl Cookson; his furry babies, Lily and Emma; his hiking partner, Sky; and his soulmate, Karen Singley. A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Dixmont United Methodist Church. A reception will be held after at Kevin’s family home, 4329 Kennebec Road, Dixmont.