Sitka, KUIU founder Jason Hairston dead at 47
By Chris Eger
Jason Hairston, who founded first Sitka and later KUIU, has passed. (Photo: KUIU)
The outdoorsman, hunting equipment company founder and former football standout was found dead in his California home this week.
Jason Hairston, CEO of Dixon-based KUIU, started the company in 2010 as a result of a life-long passion for hunting after playing professional football with the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos. The company announced this week that he took his own life after years of struggling with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease often found in those with repetitive brain trauma.
After a prep career with Foothill High School in Orange County, the California-born Hairston was a linebacker for UC Davis. Despite breaking his neck and damaging his C5 and C6 vertebrae in his junior year, he went pro in 1995, playing with the NFL for two seasons before his lingering health problems forced him to exit the sport. The Sacramento Bee reported this week that Hairston remained close with the Aggie football program at UC Davis, later donating millions to the school.
He started his first sporting goods company, Sitka, in 2005 and later sold the operation to W.L. Gore & Associates before establishing KUIU. Known for its unique