May their memory be a blessing. The Knife community says goodbye to a quartet of personalities.

It is one of the unfortunate truths of the knife world, and life itself, that in time we must say goodbye to good people. Every maker and collector has a story, but some have left a greater impression than is typical, and their passing leaves a correspondingly greater hole in the fabric of the community.


Paul Friedrich:

An avid collector of California gold rush knives as well as Colt pistols and other western memorabilia, Paul Friedrich passed away peacefully in May following a brief illness. Paul was a dedicated hunter and a longtime member of many collecting organizations. Part of his knife collection is pictured in the book “California’s Best” by Brad and Brian Witherell (identified as P.I.F. collection). He will be missed by his many friends that frequent the west coast gun show circuit.






Bert Gaston:

Arkansas Master Smith, ABS Board Member and recent inductee into the ABS Hall of Fame, passed on July 29th at the age of 88. Bert was a passionate advocate for the ABS’ educational programs and taught many classes himself. As a result of the enthusiasm and efforts of Bert and others like him, the art of bladesmithing has been preserved, passed to a new generation and is now more popular than ever.






Jefferson Spivey:

Oklahoman who drew national coverage for his cross-country horseback rides and a popular book written about them, Wind Drinker, died in his sleep on July 26. Jeff was the designer and maker of the unique Sabertooth knife, and was featured in two Knife World articles, May 2001 and July 2006. We consider ourselves lucky to have crossed paths with such a fascinating man and free spirit.







Ron Stewart:

Prolific author of books on collectible knives and straight razors, passed on July 16 (age 76). Ron was a kind man who kept a low profile at the knife shows he attended within striking distance of his eastern Kentucky home. Generally listed as a co-author with Roy Ritchie, Ron co-wrote the 6th and final edition of The Kentucky Knife Traders Manual, six editions of Standard Knife Collectors Guide, four editions of Big Book of Pocket Knives, three editions of Standard Guide to Razors, as well as Remington Knives Past & Present and Cattaraugus Cutlery Co., Identification and Values. His friendship and kindness won’t soon be forgotten.



As our Jewish friends like to say at times like these…

“May their memory be a blessing”.

Such a succinct phrase to capture our sentiments at this time.