COEUR d'ALENE - The owner of a Post Falls auto body shop is missing and believed to have drowned Saturday in Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Gary Scott "Scotty" Shawver, 57, is reported to have jumped into the lake near Stevens Point, south of Tubbs Hill, shortly before 7:30 p.m. He was attempting to retrieve an item that fell from a boat he was in, and he was not wearing a life jacket at the time. Shawver was unable to make it back to the boat.
Marine and dive units from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office responded, but were unable to locate Shawver. The water depth in the area is roughly 140 feet.
The sheriff's SONAR team will continue searching.
"It's just such a huge loss, not only to his family and friends, but to the community," said friend and Post Falls City Councilor Kerri Thoreson, who heard the news when friends began texting her Sunday morning.
"He had such a big, generous heart," she said. "I think I'm still in shock. I do know that life happens, and sometimes things that happen are unexplainable, but gosh, this was just such a great time for him. Everything was happening good in his life, which makes it especially tragic. He will be very, very missed in this community."
Shawver was a partial owner until December of Body by Scotty on Third Street in Post Falls. The shop is known for annual block parties held on the site for 18 years. The party was canceled last year after the event grew too large, with an estimated 4,000 people attending.
He opened a new business earlier this year, Scott Shawver's Autobody and RV, 2915 Seltice Way, Post Falls, with his fiancee, Stephanie Knox, and sister, Tracy Christopherson.
Christopherson said her brother was very excited about his new business.
"He was the happiest he's been. Everything was on track. He was very excited about his crew he had working for him. It's a tragedy," Christopherson said.
"Scott was an incredible human being. He'd give you the shirt off his back," said Post Falls Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam Houser. Houser has been a friend and colleague of Shawver's for about 16 years, and she said they've shared many meals together.
"He's supported me personally in the Chamber and to raise money for the Chamber, the food bank, the Boys and Girls Club. He's really supportive of economic development in our community," she said. "His main goal always seemed to be caring for other people and what he could do for someone else."
"I can't believe that he's gone," she said. "I just can't."
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a correction in Shawver's business ownership and add quotes from his sister.