In Memoriam

Saying good-bye to someone is never easy, and industry veterans were getting more than a little misty this week with the untimely passing of two men.

Saying good-bye to someone is never easy, and industry veterans were getting more than a little misty this week with the untimely passing of two men.

Kurt E. Lankford, a 43-year-old Boulder, Colo., resident, died of a heart attack while running on the Anemone Trail west of Boulder on Tuesday, September 17. A noted backcountry skiing expert, he was co-author of the best-selling guidebook "Skiing Colorado's Backcountry," published in 1989 with Brian Litz, a well-known and respected outdoor industry writer and photographer. According to an obit in the Denver Post, Lankford had no previous history of heart disease or other known health problems. He was last seen leaving work for his usual lunchtime run. His body was discovered 10 feet from the trail the following day by a hiker.

Ed Hommer, a 46-year-old double amputee from Minnesota, training to climb Everest and become the first double amputee to make the summit, was killed when he was struck by a basketball-sized rock near Disappointment Cleaver on Mount Rainier. Hommer lost his legs in 1981 in a plane crash on Mount McKinley. Last year, with co-author Daniel Paisner, Hommer published "The Hill," a book describing the McKinley accident and then his return to climbing.

SNEWS® View: Godspeed to you both.


In memoriam: Saying goodbye to Marc Gmiter

Longtime industry veteran, beloved rep for numerous industry brands, and friend of many, died Saturday, Jan. 19, apparently of a massive heart attack while skiing near his Michigan home. Steve Bendzak, general manager for ExOfficio, shared the following with SNEWS®: “It was a more


In memoriam: Saying goodbye to Cliff Cornhall

Cliff Cornhall, 72, the camping buyer for Big 5 Sporting Goods for 38 years until his retirement in 2006, died of an apparent heart attack on April 15, shortly after returning from an early morning walk on the beach near his Huntington Beach, Calif., home. Larry Harrison, a more


In memoriam: Barbara Biewer shaped The Sports Authority’s fitness category

Barbara Biewer, long-time fitness buyer for fitness and sporting goods retail, passed away on Oct. 1 after a short illness. She was 58. A short statement from her employer, The Sports Authority, called her “beloved wife, friend and co-worker.” According to a TSA spokeswoman, her more


In memoriam: Alpinist Riccardo Cassin dies at 100

Riccardo Cassin, a pioneer in Alpine climbing and founder of the Cassin climbing equipment company, died Aug. 6 at the age of 100. “You could absolutely make the argument that he was one of the greatest Alpine climbers of all time,” Tommy Knoll, managing director of C.A.M.P. more


In memoriam: Fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne, 96, leaves strong memories

Inspirational, and likely feisty to the end, Jack LaLanne passed away Jan. 23, 2011, from respiratory failure, a complication of pneumonia, at his home in Morro Bay, Calif. He was 96. For more than seven decades, LaLanne was responsible for bringing the message of fitness to the more


In memoriam: Dennis "OD" O'Donnell celebrated life to the end

Just over four years after being diagnosed with what is known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Dennis "OD" O'Donnell passed away Feb. 16 due to respiratory failure from the disease. He was 65. Known as the man who always had a smile and a joke for everyone he knew, O'Donnell was much more


In memoriam: Andy Knapp has departed on his next grand adventure

Andy Knapp is off on another adventure. At 3 a.m. on June 22, Knapp (61) ended his six-year battle with renal cell cancer and left his body behind. Who knows where he is headed, but for those who know Knapp well, and even for those who don't, the SNEWS team can assure all that more


In Memoriam: Jacques Lavertue passes away at age 53

The outdoor industry experienced a great disturbance in the force on Oct. 13. Jacques Lavertue, president and general manager of the Outdoor Group at Wolverine, passed away at home on Saturday, surrounded by his family after a courageous eight-month battle with cancer. He was more


In memoriam: Jeff Simonoff, No. 1 at EORA and thousands of hearts everywhere

Jeff Simonoff, one of the founding members of the Eastern Outdoor Reps Association (EORA), passed away on Sunday, Sept. 20. He had gone to the hospital earlier in the day, according to an email from Debbie Motz, EORA’s executive director, as he was not feeling well. He died more