Walter "Lee" Baihly, of Harpers Ferry, W.V., suddenly and tragically passed from our lives on Nov. 1, 2019. Lee led a full and consequential life that touched many lives.
Born to George and Marion Baihly in Rochester, July 28, 1941, Lee Baihly grew up to earn an Eagle Scout and spent summers as a guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. He went on from there to earn a B.A. from St. Olaf College in history and political science. He was the Assistant Editor of the college newspaper and later earned a master's in journalism from the University of Minnesota. An internship for Minnesota Congressman Al Quie brought him to Washington, D.C., where he started grad school at American University and met his future wife, Grace Eunsook Kang, in their first class.
In 1971, the young Baihly family moved to Knoxville, Md., near Harpers Ferry. Lee was directing the Partnership Program for the Peace Corps in Washington. He thought the area was an ideal location for an outdoor adventure company. In 1972, Lee and Grace started River & Trail Outfitters, the first canoe livery in the Harpers Ferry area. River & Trail is still family owned and operated by three generations.
Lee Baihly loved the outdoors and was a pioneer of the outfitting industry. Through his work at River & Trail, he worked hard to fulfill the company mission of "Making Memories." Safety was his top concern for the guests, and he helped set standards used throughout the country. Lee was a master in forming partnerships and working with local agencies to expand the industry and provide public access to the rivers.
He was a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather nicknamed "Haj" who treasured time with his grandchildren. He was beloved by his employees, who many saw as a father figure.
He is survived by his wife of 54 amazing years, Grace Eunsook; two children and their spouses, George and Kay, Natasha and John; grandchildren, Nathan, Mariah, Noah, and William; brothers, Art and Dave; and a vast network of friends.
There will be two services to celebrate his life with friends and family. First, a Memorial Service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church, where Lee and his family attended for more than 40 years. A reception will follow. Second, there will be a Celebration of Life at the Brunswick Family Campground in the spring. Details will follow.
In memory of Mr. Baihly, donations can be made to: Appalachian Trail Conference or the river conservation group of your choice.
Condolences may be expressed at www.eackles-spencerfuneralhome.com.