While those he worked with in CRAB's early years eventually left for other projects, Backe devoted the rest of his life to it.

"He was a persistent guy," Jobson said. "He had his mission; he stuck it out a long time. There were always challenges, fundraising issues. You've got to give him a lot of credit."

Not many people knew how sick Backe had been since contracting an antibiotic-resistant staph infection three years ago.

"I think most people did not know because Don was like the Energizer Bunny. When something blindsided him, he just got right back up again," Shineman said.

Said Lyn Backe: The infection "complicated everything that happened to him after that. Every little infection became a big infection. He was able to come back a little bit less after each one."

Though CRAB has long been a "hand-to-mouth kind of organization," according to Jobson and others, Backe's legacy will help it survive.

"I think that his influence was so strong, there's no doubt in my mind that CRAB will absolutely survive," Shineman said. "And shame on people if they don't rally around and see that it happens."

don.markus@baltsun.com

A memorial service will be held to honor Don Backe on June 23 at 4 p.m. at the Port Annapolis Marina on Bembe Beach Road in Annapolis.

don.markus@baltsun.com

A memorial service will be held to honor Don Backe on June 23 beginning at 4 p.m. at the Port Annapolis Marina on Bembe Beach Road in Annapolis.

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