Tim & Karen


   On the night of January 15, 1994, Grand Canyon lost two dedicated friends and the river community lost two stalwart boatmen. Tim and Karen (Byerley) Kazan were driving home to Page when a motorist struck them in a tragic collision they would not survive.

   In the words of a friend, Fr. Kerry Neuhardt, “Tim and Karen’s inner and outer lives were so ‘kindred’ they appeared simple. Their ‘down to earthiness’ was a sign of how connected their inner and outer lives were. They were unpretentious, authentic and more at ease hearing how they could help you than telling you of their own needs. In a word, they were ‘un’-self-conscious. They had a way of being free and instilling a comfort that began with attire and transcended every possible barrier of power, class and culture.”

   They both started in the 70’s. Tim was working down river for Sanderson River Expeditions and Karen was running back-to-back daily trips for Fort Lee Co. It would be several more years and many more trips before Catfish and KB would meet on their first trip together. Yet it was obvious that harmony and symmetry had found one warm heart in these two wonderful souls.

   Fish ran from 1974 till 1983 and although Karen’s presence in the Canyon may be more fresh in our minds, Tim’s buoyant personality and guiding skills made an impression in those days that will long remain. Just ask Roger, Giant, Wolf, Stick, Kevin or Frenchy. Then Fish left for the Episcopal seminary in Austin. He was ordained in 1987 and returned to serve congregations on river and off.

   Karen started in 1976 cranking out those one day trips day after day, season after season. She probably ran over 300(!) of them before she got her own boat to run the big trips downstream. She loved the river and the people it drew. She saw her future here and determined to be a guide. Not since Georgie had a young woman dedicated herself so fully to running the big rigs with such quiet enthusiasm. They had so much to give to their friends and their trips, it’s no wonder there’s so much to miss.

   To paraphrase their musical hero:

   you are somewhere on the water now,
   a place you ought to be,
   with one hand on the starboard rail
   you’re waving back at me.


   There’s a compelling shrine for Tim & Karen on Hwy 89 about a mile south of Wendell’s Mobil station in Cameron. Stop by and say hi...and remember.

Tim Whitney