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It was a memorial service that “felt like a philosophy lesson on how to live a good life.”
That’s how Stacy Bare described the Monday gathering of hundreds of friends and family members of Ann Krcik, a beloved member of our community who passed away on February 26, 2018, after a courageous battle with breast cancer.
While Krcik most recently served as a senior director at The North Face, she was also the co-founder of Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition, founder of Extreme Connection, and board member of The Conservation Alliance.
Read more: why she we’ll all miss Ann Krcik.
People from all over the country convened in a light-filled room with soaring glass windows at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco’s Presidio to celebrate the life and impact of a woman who was a friend to so many in the outdoor industry, and beyond.
“The room was full of family and friends from the many chapters of Ann’s life,” described John Sterling executive director of The Conservation Alliance. “There were stories and music, all calling out Ann’s love for the natural world, adventure, and most of all, her community of friends.”
Julie Atherton of JAM Media agreed: “It was a truly inspiring day, reminding us to all live life the way Ann did, by connecting with people and creating community.”
The Reverend Rachel Anderson presided over the beautiful service.
Krcik’s deep connection to nature
“It’s good that we have come together to remember her— friends and strangers connected to one another through Ann— because we need one another to face her death, to celebrate her life, and to show our love and support to the Krcik family,” said Anderson at the beginning of the service.
She went on to talk about Ann as a spiritual person who was deeply connected to nature.
“In Yosemite, in the meadow across from Camp Four, there is a tree Ann loved. She said the tree roots created a perfect place to sit so you felt held by it. She remembered it from childhood visits, but she claimed it as her own the summer before college when she lived in the Valley.
Across cultures and religions, trees are sacred symbols; they are the axis of the world,
where heaven and earth meet. Ann’s Yosemite tree was a sacred touchstone throughout her life, a life that was shaped by deep losses: the death of her beloved father when she was only twenty-five. the too-early death of her business partner and friend Todd Skinner the first diagnosis of breast cancer, the heartbreaking loss of her beloved dog Shayla.
With each loss, she returned to her tree. Ann carried that tree and its meaning inside her; she pictured it in her mind when she needed solace, and it was with her in these last months of her life as she brought all whom she had grown to become to her living and her dying.”
The day’s celebration of Ann Krcik was marked by six other speakers, who each shed light on different aspects of Ann’s remarkable life and career.
Watch the moving speech Krcik gave when she was honored with Camber’s Lifetime Achievement Award at Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show this January.
Krcik loved to connect people
Carolyn Cooke, who co-founded Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC, now Camber Outdoors) with Krcik in the mid 90s, spoke about the “gold” that we all saw in Ann, and her gift at bringing people together.
Cooke explained that Ann was the force behind the early OIWC networking parties that launched the organization and shared this memory, one of her favorites:
“While the parties were great, she truly excelled at post-OR show camping trips,” said Cooke. “Twenty to 30 women camping in the Uinta’s—drinking wine, telling stories, and participating in activities designed to bring us together…One year the weather did not cooperate at all and in the midst of a torrential downpour, it was Ann who rallied us to move into the women’s restroom with our flashlights to sit on the floor and hear a woman speak about the importance of cultivating our intuitive decision-making skills.”
Throughout her life, Ann was known for lifting people up, Cooke said, calling her “a networker extraordinaire” who was always generous with her copious Rolodex.
And she was right. When Cooke asked the crowd for a show of hands as to how many people forged an important business or personal relationship due to an introduction by Ann, nearly everyone in the room raised their hand.
“Ann used her own gold to polish and shine the gold that she saw in others…letting their light shine through.”
Other speakers included Ann’s brother Andrew, Bill Price, Anne Sheer and Anne Rockwell, Nancy Feagin, and Kristi Denton Cohen.
Right before the service ended with a jam session that Ann would have loved—recordings of two of her favorite Grateful Dead songs, Sugar Magnolia and Candy Man—Anderson closed the service with this quote from Edward Abbey:
May your trails be crooked, winding, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you – beyond that next turning of the [mountain trail.]
“Ann would tell us: Go on adventures. Make memories. Enjoy the journey,” Anderson concluded. “Farewell, Ann. We send you with our blessings and love. We are filled with joyful gratitude that we knew you. We will always remember you.”
Those wishing to honor Ann’s memory can donate to the Ann Krcik Advocacy Fund to ensure that women continue to develop community and connections that will shape the future of the outdoors.