On April 15, Jeff Pappin of Ottawa, Ont. drowned while kayaking along Beaver Creek, north of Marmora. The river is a popular spot for whitewater kayaking in the spring when the water’s high and full of paddlers tackling technical segments, such as Fiddlar’s Rapid and Double Drop.
Pappin was a proficient paddler, first getting into the sport at the age of 16. He called the Ottawa River home. During university, he spent summers leading paddling tours. And later, he shared his passion for paddling with his family, introducing his daughter, Merrill, to the sport when she was 19. The two took summer trips together paddling along the Madawaska, Petawawa, Le Petite-Nation, the Rouge, and Ottawa Rivers.
“He never needed to prove himself on the river and never took risks he couldn’t manage because he knew he had too much to live for,” his family wrote in a statement.
One of Pappin’s most revered traits was his ability to bring others together to enjoy the outdoors. Besides paddling, Pappin was also a board member of Kanata Nordic, a cross-country ski club based in Ottawa. As part of his role, Pappin tackled mundane tasks, such as grooming trails, installing culverts, and arranging porta-potties. On its Facebook page, Kanata Nordic wrote that Pappin took on these jobs without the expectation of praise but just to make things a little better and a little easier for those around him.
“Jeff was an enthusiastic guy who volunteered so much of his time and energy to his passions, and Kanata Nordic was just lucky enough to be counted as one of his projects,” the club said.
To honour Pappin’s legacy, his family has created the Jeff Pappin Memorial Fund through Whitewater Ontario, a volunteer-run organization that promotes the development of whitewater resources and the paddling community within Ontario.
Under the guidance of the Pappin family, the funds will be used to get young paddlers out on the river and to train them in boat safety.
Those wishing to donate to the memorial fund can send an e-transfer to email@example.com or mail a cheque to:
411 Carnegie Beach Rd.
Port Perry, ON
When sending the donation, make sure to note that it is intended for the Jeff Pappin Memorial Fund.
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