As she stuffed the last duffle bag in her car and pulled on the straps holding her kayak to her little blue Impreza, Abby gave mom and dad a quick hug and pulled out of the driveway. She was leaving a corporate life in Washington D.C. for a job as a river guide all the way across the country in a small town in northern Idaho, to start her big adventure.
On the morning of May 5th, 2020 that adventure was cut short as the result of an accident at a construction site. Whether you knew her as Abigail or Abe, the world lost a weird, wild, authentic, and wonderful soul this week.
In March, Abby announced to the world that she was transitioning to the name Abe. To those who knew him best, this was just a matter of title change. There was not a day in the last 27 years where he wasn’t exactly who he was, his authentic self.
While far too short, Abe’s time here with us was filled with countless shenanigans, experiences and proud accomplishments. So brave, so fun-loving, so kind, and generous. But also messy, impulsive, and prone to capturing memories in a collection of weird hats, strange clothing, and assorted ‘souvenirs’ from every place he went. Although he was pulled from us far too soon, we take comfort in knowing he was filled with love, and he was at a very happy point in his life.
Abe spent time as a Congressional page in which he, armed with his first real paycheck, spent every last dime on every weird tchotchke that a Spencers Gifts has to offer filling 7 suitcases worth in just 4 short months. Abe graduated from Utah State University, with BS Degrees in both economics and in political science (he walked in both graduations and hung both diplomas in his living room). One of his proudest moments was winning third place in the undergraduate research contest at APEE in 2014.
After College he worked for Strata Policy and interned with the Charles Koch Foundation, but his spirit was not happy until he returned to his first love of outdoor adventures on the rivers and mountains of Utah, Idaho, and Oregon. All through college Abe worked as a whitewater river guide on the Salmon river in Idaho. He took guests on a wild ride through the crazy rapids, balancing the desire for an adrenaline rush of big water with their safe return to firm ground. A favorite memory is the weekend when Abe piloted the whole family through the rapids of the Salmon river. Hanging by a single foot braced in the boat, he maneuvered us through unscathed and with the pictures to prove it. It was pure Abby/ Abe. He went on to guide longer river trips through the wilderness areas in Hells Canyon with new friends and challenges. Ab loved the river, but the work was seasonal, so winters offered an opportunity to pursue other passions —snowboarding and skiing. His times at Solitude in Utah and Mt. Bachelor in Oregon provided new adventures and new families of friends to share them.
He loved being outdoors and working physically, so it was a short stretch to a career in construction when the seasonality of the rivers and the mountains got old. She loved producing something and was so proud of everything he built, constantly learning and excited about his new career. This adventure was just beginning, so we cannot know what it would be or whether another interest would replace it. We do know he was excited about it and making big plans for future projects and the years ahead in work and at home. Abe will be missed.
A celebration of his life will be held later this summer as travel and gatherings become easier. Please share a memory at larkincares.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: