The Hardest Working Man You Never Knew Passed Away


Every morning, just before sunrise, Ken Kyle would wake up in his King Salmon trailer, walk out the door, head to the docks of Humboldt Bay, and jump into the freezing cold and often murky abyss for a swim. With an almost savant like recollection he could remember how many strokes he had made on any given day for the past several years. After his swim, he would walk back up to his front yard where he attached a makeshift trailer constructed of scrap wood and metal, barrels, buckets, and bags to one of his trucks. He then set out on a regimented daily schedule picking up recycling from hundreds of Humboldt County businesses. During his busiest seasons Kyle could collect over two tons of recyclables a day. At each stop he would walk in and greet whoever was working by name. Kyle was the same way with names as he was with the number of strokes he swam. He felt it was his duty that upon first meeting someone, he locked their name into his memory. And once he knew your name, the next time he saw you, you'd surely hear about how many strokes he swam earlier that morning or how many pushups and crunches he did. It's with this self-discipline Kyle worked his ass off providing a recycling collection service for an entire county entirely on his own. If you lived in Humboldt County over the last decade you surely saw his rag tag operation clinking down the road. Perhaps you may have even once shaken his leathery hand. Still, few of us really knew who Ken Kyle was. Sean Wilson captured a glimpse into Kyle and his operation in his award winning 2005 short documentary "Mercy Me."

Ken Kyle will be missed.