Late night phone calls have the reputation of bearing bad news, and that was the case for us last night when we heard that Ben Blixrud had died. It was a shock that still has us in a state of disbelief. He was such a vibrant and healthy person, who has been our friend for decades.
Ben grew up in McBride and never let the community’s isolation get in the way of his interests. He loved to be in motion, and created many modes of achieving such a goal. He was the first local person I met that spent time paragliding off of the mountains. He loved biking, and made himself several recumbent bikes.
He used a sail to propel himself across frozen lakes at breakneck speed on homemade sleds, and as the photo above shows, he rigged up a wheeled contraption with a sail to speed up an down the tarmac at the airport on windy days.
Ben was not just very mechanical and creative, he loved ideas and took the trouble to try them out. He was also a sculptor and we have always treasured his thoughtful gift of the two leaping killer whales carving he gave us for an anniversary. Whenever we ran into Ben at the grocery, post office, or out somewhere doing some outrageous thing with one of his contraptions, it was always a joy to stop and hear what he had been up to.
It’s going to take some time for us to process this loss of such a vibrant friend.
You can view my paintings at: www.davidmarchant.ca