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Accident Description


  Fidelity Investments executive dies in kayaking accident

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON Manchester, NH Union Leader

Published Aug 15, 2011

AMHERST -- A highly experienced kayaker and senior executive at Fidelity Investments died this past weekend while kayaking in Idaho. Boyce Greer, head of Institutional Investments at Fidelity, was kayaking on the Payette River in Banks, Idaho, around noon on Sunday when he was fatally injured, according to the Boise County Sheriff's Office. Although officials have not yet released details of the accident, Greer was pronounced dead at the scene.

Greer, 55, of Fair Oaks Drive is the leading investor and owner in Liquidlogic/Legacy paddle sports, which makes kayaking gear. Greer is well-known in the kayaking world, and has several YouTube videos sharing his knowledge of the sport and how to pack necessities for trips, including one of his recent kayaking expeditions at the Grand Canyon. Some people have even referred to him as the “paddler super banker,” referring to his love for money management and the water sport.

The accident happened in one of the most advanced runs in the world on the North Fork of the Payette River. Several whitewater paddlers have drowned in that section of water in the past two decades, including a Connecticut teenager who died kayaking earlier this summer on the same 16-mile stretch of class four and five rapids. One of Greer's best friends, Greg Hanlon of Lyme, said the Greer family spent the summers at their vacation house in Idaho. The two friends were each other's best men at their weddings, according to Hanlon, who said he has been paddling with Greer for about 20 years.

According to Hanlon, Greer was kayaking with another friend, Mike Hipsher, in an area known as the Jacob's Ladder rapid when trouble struck on Sunday. Hipsher decided to get out of the water and walk around the rough current, but Greer opted to continue in his kayak, according to Hanlon. “He got a bit of a beating and flipped over, and it didn't go so well from there,” said Hanlon. “The water can be a lonely place when you are trouble.”

Hanlon said it isn't clear if Greer hit his head or more likely drowned throughout the difficult rapid, but explained that Hipsher eventually pulled Greer to shore down river and he was not breathing. Hanlon stressed that Greer has managed this rapid successfully several times prior, and that despite its extreme difficulty, Greer has faced even more challenging waters. “Most of us paddle with emotion, fear, excitement and the challenge of it all, but Boyce was not like that. He was extremely logical and never excited or scared or nervous. He had an amazing level of self control, and he was not stupid about it,” added Hanlon.

Lt. Dan Smith of the Valley County Sheriff's Office in Idaho said no further information about Greer's kayaking accident was currently available, although it is still under investigation. Emergency teams from Valley County and Boise County, along with Life Flight, responded to the scene around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to Smith, but it was too late.

At Fidelity Investments, Greer was the vice-chairman of Pyramis Global Advisors, the institutional investment arm of Fidelity Investments. He was also president of Strategic Advisers and Fidelity's global asset allocation group, working at the company for nearly 25 years. Vincent Loporchio, spokesperson for Fidelity Investments, described Greer as a devoted husband and father.

Greer, who held master's and doctorate degrees from Harvard University, leaves behind his wife, Anne, and their three daughters, Tessa, Corey and Riley. “On behalf of everyone at Fidelity, we extend our sincere condolences to the Greer family. The entire Fidelity family is deeply saddened and will greatly miss him,” Loporchio said in a statement. “Boyce was more than just an accomplished business leader. He was an admired and greatly respected manager, colleague and friend, who brought his extraordinary passion, caring nature, keen intellect and wonderful sense of humor to everything he did.” He went on to describe Greer as a gifted thinker who embraced life and challenged those around him to be more, and to do more. “Our thoughts are with the Greer family during this difficult period. We join them in mourning this great loss,” added Loporchio.

Greer, like many other expert kayakers, has had several close calls when paddling the rapids, according to Hanlon. In their tight circle of friends, Hanlon said Greer marks the third paddler to die doing what he loves most. A funeral service will likely be planned in Idaho, and Greer had requested that his ashes be spread in a river in Quebec, an area that he frequently paddled, according to Hanlon.

Anne Greer and one of their daughters were at their home in Idaho this past weekend during the accident. The family was having difficulty contacting the other two daughters, as one of them is currently in Africa and the other is serving as a raft guide in a separate area of Idaho. Boyce and Anne Greer have been strong supporters of American Whitewaters, an advocacy group for the preservation and protection of whitewater resources throughout the nation. The couple has hosted several fundraisers at their Amherst home for the organization, and has made significant donations toward its efforts. Anne Greer, a former lawyer, is also well known in the community for her work at the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire in Bedford where she was named 2008 Volunteer of the Year.

 

N.H. kayaker was experienced and no stranger to Idaho waters

The North Fork of the Payette claims its second victim in 2 months —

a tragic coincidence, experts say.

By Katy Moeller - kmoeller@idahostatesman.com

Copyright: © 2011 Idaho Statesman

Published: 08/16/11

Boyce I. Greer, who died Sunday while paddling the Class V rapids on the North Fork of the Payette, was identified by officials as a New Hampshire man. But the 55-year-old has strong ties to Idaho. In fact, his family bought a house in the McCall area this summer, a close family friend said Monday.

Greer’s family — including his wife and three daughters — had come to Idaho every summer for years to raft the Salmon River. “Everybody goes on the rafting trip,” said Shane Benedict, who in July joined the family on the trip. Benedict, who does design work for a North Carolina-based kayak manufacturer, paddled the North Fork with Greer last summer. Valley County sheriff’s Lt. Dan Smith said Monday he did not have a full account of what happened Sunday because the investigator’s final report had not yet been filed. “(Greer) was spotted upside down on the river,” Smith said.

The accident was reported at 12:34 p.m. It happened near milepost 86 on Idaho 55 — a couple of miles downstream from where another expert kayaker got in trouble in June. Benedict said Greer had paddled the North Fork the week before — and the day before — he died. He was with an Idaho friend on Sunday, when he got in trouble in a section of rapids called Jacob’s Ladder. “There are so many holes. Once he was off course, he was trying to recover,” Benedict said, recounting the story of an unidentified kayaker who was with Greer. “He became exhausted.” Greer rolled many times. His friend was eventually able to pull him to shore.

His death was national news. Greer, of Amherst, N.H., was a senior executive at Fidelity Investments, one of the nation’s largest mutual-fund companies. He held bachelor’s and master’s degrees — as well as a Ph.D. in public policy — from Harvard University, according to Fidelity.com Benedict said Greer was the initial investor in the kayak maker Liquidlogic, which later merged with Legacy Paddlesports. Greer was director of Legacy Paddlesports.

Greer’s death was the second since June 28, when expert kayaker Stephen Forster of Connecticut got caught in a hydraulic in the Payette near milepost 88 on Idaho 55. “It’s really hard to put a finger on, outside of the fact that it is very, very difficult whitewater,” said Long, who has first-hand knowledge of the North Fork. “When you get to that level of whitewater, there is every day a level of unpredictability” “That stretch of whitewater has some inherent danger,” Long said. “If it happened on the main Payette, I’d be shocked to have a similar circumstance.”

Benedict said the recent deaths are part of a national trend. “There’s been more deaths of experienced kayakers than normal this year,” Benedict said. “It’s a cycle. Every eight or 10 years, we have a really bad year.” No autopsy was done on Greer, Valley County Deputy Coroner Nathan Hess said. After cremation, Greer’s body will be transported to New Hampshire, Hess said.