MOUNT AIRY — John Duncan Wilburn left this world Sunday, March 9, 2014, in a kayaking accident in California. He is survived by his wife, Erin Johnson Wilburn, their families, and countless friends across the United States. "John climbed mountains, kayaked big water, and rode epic trails while traveling all around the country. He found and married his perfect soul mate and they had begun building a life together. John fit more adventure in his thirty years than we thought possible. He always had time for a little guitar. John showed us a life well lived. He was happy," as said by his father, Herb Wilburn. Everyone has their memory of John. The stories are full of humor, acts of gentleness and kindness, and friendship. John was not perfect, not flawless, but he was genuine. That is a legacy that is the best of what it means to be human and we are so proud of him for that. We have no solace, I know no comfort; I have no answers as to why we are left without him. What we have lost cannot be measured, weighed, or tallied. It has been so quick, too quick, and we feel lost and adrift. I do know that there is a little touch of John in all of our lives to guide us. We will need time to reconcile this—there is probably not enough time but we will try. We will not say good-bye, we will not forget, but John, we will live. I hope we come close to your example. Surviving are his wife, Erin Johnson Wilburn of Grants Pass, OR; his parents, Herb and Susie Wilburn; his brother and sister-in-law, Thomas Wilburn and Belle Peñaranda; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Allen and Alison Johnson; sisters-in-law, Lizzie Morrison and her husband, Luke, and Anna Johnson; a brother-in-law, Matt Johnson; and Erin's grandparents, Paula Johnson and Franklin and Janice Jarrett. A visitation to remember John will be held Friday, March 21, 2014, at 633 Cross Creek Drive, Mount Airy, NC, from 6:00 until 8:00 PM. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Whitewater Association, P.O. Box 1540, Cullowhee, NC 28723 ( Online condolences may be made at

Published in Mount Airy Newspapers from Mar. 17 to Mar. 18, 2014