Roughly a month ago, on the evening of October 25, master woodworker and paddlemaker Keith Backlund took his last breath in the Stalker, Pennsylvania, home where he grew up. Since then, a stream of remembrances and condolences have rippled across the Web.
A few important things can be learned about Backlund from the on-point obituary written by Charlie Walbridge for American Whitewater. He was born in the Pocono mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania. He began making wood paddles after taking up whitewater kayaking. He founded the mainstream paddle companies Woodlight and Viking. He made sure to share whatever he learned with a number of apprentices. He was one of a kind. "He knew wood and woodworking better than anyone we know and his paddles were probably the finest ever produced," wrote Walbridge.