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 Karens
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 70s. 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 Karens presence in the Canyon
may be more fresh in our minds, Tims 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, its no wonder theres 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
youre waving back at me.
Theres a compelling shrine for Tim & Karen on Hwy 89 about a mile
south of Wendells Mobil station in Cameron. Stop by and say hi...and remember.