Brianna Theresa Wancura, 33, of Salida died Dec. 17, 2023, at her home.

She was born Feb. 23, 1990, in Dodge City, Kansas, to Marianne Stein Wancura and David Brian Wancura, The Wancura family moved to Salida in 1992, where they raised Ms. Wancura, her sister Laura and brother Jonathan in an old Victorian house on F Street. At Salida High School she performed on stage and in the choir, played varsity volleyball and tennis and excelled in academics.

Friends and family said they recalled stories of Ms. Wancura sliding down the stairs of their homes in a laundry basket or stealing her sister’s car to cruise F Street, and they said everyone knew she lived life by her own set of rules.

Ms. Wancura attended the University of Northern Colorado briefly before transferring to Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, where she honored the family legacy as a third-generation Wancura to attend. She double-majored in psychology and biology and was an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, her grandmother’s sorority.

After college, Ms. Wancura worked in Amarillo, Texas, and made lifelong friends before relocating to Denver to work for the Stanley Brothers developing cannabis gummy recipes. Her research, knowledge and recipe development were highly sought after, and she was headhunted by several competing companies before becoming a founding member of Chew & Chill, based in Las Vegas. Her work with these companies allowed her to travel the world, including Canada, India and the Caribbean.

In 2020, Ms. Wancura returned to school to receive a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Northern Colorado.

She moved to Salida in 2022 to be closer to family and the river, her two great loves.

She enjoyed rafting and kayaking and was an avid mountain biker, hiker and marathon runner. Her passion for boating and outdoor sports led her to the FIBArk board of directors, and she took a particular interest in the Youth Paddling Program, frequently volunteering for events that furthered its cause.

She loved spending time with her nephew and godson, Moose, who called her Aunt B.

Friends and family said Ms. Wancura was known for her contagious laughter and wandering spirit. They said she had the ability to draw you in and hold you tight, making you feel as if you could fly right alongside her.

Friends said they remember how she loved dressing up in costumes and being the life of the party, and she had room at her table for everyone.

Survivors include her parents; sister, Laura (Alec) Atwood; half-brother, Robert Jonathan Seacat; stepmother, Liz Spencer Wancura; stepbrothers, Harry Spencer and Robert Spencer; nephew, Eldon “Moose” Atwood; grandparents Eldon and Bonnie Wancura; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Friends and family are invited to say goodbye to Ms. Wancura from 4 to 7 pm on Feb. 23rd, 2024, at the Salida Rotary Scout Hut. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a scholarship program in her name at a later date.

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