Don Backe

Donald E. Backe, the founder and the heart of CRAB, died peacefully on Friday, April 12, 2013, among close friends and family.

A memorial service was held on Sunday, June 23, at Port Annapolis Marina. A large number of Don’s family, friends, and colleagues gathered to celebrate his life and spirit.


Don Backe was a consumate teacher. Not just on a sailboat, but everywhere this Annapolis man made a name for himself in recent years. Not just in the classroom, where he spent decades educating young students.

Backe taught people about perseverance, despite using a wheelchair since 1987, when a violent car crash robbed him of his ability to walk, friends and family said Saturday.

“He was an inspirational figure because he never stopped,” said Angus Phillips, who knew Backe for more than a decade. “He got in that terrible accident, and a lot of people would have curled up and gave up, but a lot of his achievements came after that. He was indefatigable.”

Backe died Friday, April 12, 2013 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Columbia after a prolonged illness. He was 77.

Backe’s death saddened many in the boating community.

Not long after his accident, Backe returned to his lifelong passion of sailing. And he made it a mission to inspire others with disabilities to do the same.



177 Defense Highway, Suite 9
Annapolis, MD 21401

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