Bo Nordh – Broken Pipe (Sep 2006)

Bo301The Swedish pipemaker Bo Nordh passed away on the 12th of July after a short period of illness. Bo was one of the most talented and respected pipemakers of our time and he will be deeply missed by colleagues, collectors and friends from all over the world. He became 65 years old.

The reason for Bo to start making pipes was in fact a tragedy. In his youth he had a terrible motorcycle accident, and the injuries from that tied him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He was educated as an engineer, but in his situation it was not easy to find a job. So, being a pipesmoker and in great need of something to do, he started carving pipes. Today we all know what became of that hobby.
Bo was a fighter and he really needed to be one, because his life was not easy. You may think that being tied to a wheelchair is enough trouble for one person during a lifetime, but for several years Bo also had great problems with his skin, especially in the hands. For long periods that made it very difficult for him to work, but Bo was as focused to conquer that illness as he was in making perfect pipes, so he finally succeeded. A few years ago he had a stroke and after that he got problems with his fine motor ability, a serious problem for a pipemaker. But Bo trained energetically and conquered that too. However, the cancer was too much, even for a fighter like Bo.

Bo had several hobbies besides his pipemaking. One of them was cultivating roses, and to walk around in his garden during the season was a delight. And Bo knew all there was to know about every single species. He also took a great interest in cooking and his Weber-grill was a favourite. Bo never cheated as a pipemaker nor did he do that when cooking, so every meal made by Bo was delicious, to say the least. He also took a great interest in music and his collection of CDs was huge. He favoured jazz but often also listened to classical music like Bach and Vivaldi. He had an excellent stereo in his living-room and his last improvement was to install another stereo in the workshop. Unfortunately he never got time to enjoy it, as it was installed shortly before he was taken to hospital.
Bo was a founder member of the Pipe Club of Sweden and took great interest in the club’s activities. Every summer the board of the club was invited for a meeting at Bo’s place, meetings that always ended with a delicious meal. We were all very much looking forward to these events in Bo’s home, but we also think Bo enjoyed having us as guests.

We will remember Bo not only as a great pipemaker but also as a very dear friend. Bo was a very humorous person and there always was a lot of laughter when he was present. As said before, Bo had a lot of trouble during his life, but he never complained. Even during his last weeks in hospital he did not, even though he knew it was serious. He was realistic, but had not lost his hope.

We will miss Bo a lot, but we will never forget him. And we are sure that neither will he or his pipes be forgotten by pipesmokers, collectors and friends from all over the world.

Jan Andersson