In a poignant loss for Detroit and the global community, Missy Kinyon, a renowned musician, philanthropist, and co-owner of Detroit Outpost at Grayhaven State Harbor, passed away at the age of 49.
Her vibrant spirit, passion for kayaking, and commitment to building connections among Detroiters have left an indelible mark on the city.
Missy’s journey took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, an aggressive and rare form of cancer.
In a mere five weeks, this formidable force of nature succumbed to the illness, surrounded by her family at home. Her husband, John Roberts-Kinyon, shared the heartbreaking news with the Detroit Free Press.
Known for her role in co-owning Detroit Outpost, Missy played a pivotal role in introducing kayaking to thousands in Detroit and beyond.
The Outpost, located at Grayhaven State Harbor, became a hub for enthusiasts seeking adventure on the Detroit River.
The community rallied around her during her battle, expressing love and support through social media with the hashtag #paddlesoutformissy.
Described as a “magical” force, Missy went beyond introducing people to kayaking. She worked tirelessly to bridge communities, fostering friendships between the Grosse Pointes and Detroit.
Her impact reached beyond the water, breaking down barriers and inspiring people to see the beauty of nature.
Jason McGuire, CEO of Riverside Marina, emphasized Missy’s commitment to diversity in water activities. Riverside, situated on the Detroit River, was not just a marina for her; it was a platform to advocate for inclusivity.
Missy’s efforts challenged stereotypes, encouraging people from diverse backgrounds to experience the joy of paddling. Missy’s journey with her husband, John Roberts-Kinyon, began at Dino’s Lounge in Ferndale, where she tended bar.
Their first date, a whitewater rafting trip, set the tone for their adventurous life together. John, known simply as “Missy’s husband,” played a vital role in supporting her endeavors, both personally and in running Detroit Outpost.
Her early years were marked by acts of kindness, such as giving away her coat to those in need. Missy’s commitment to making the world better extended to delivering food to the homeless on Detroit’s streets.
These actions were not isolated; they were part of her character, defining her as someone who cared deeply for others.
Jenelle David, a close friend, shared a decade-long tradition of weekly kayaking with Missy on the Detroit River. Their excursions created new clusters of community, bringing together individuals from various backgrounds, including musicians, singers, athletes, and politicians.
In 2015, Missy founded Detroit Outpost, leading kayaking excursions and enriching the lives of those who experienced Detroit’s waterways. Her love for music was evident, and she founded the Eastside Jam Collective in 2017, where strangers bonded over shared melodies.
Beyond her love for kayaking and music, Missy co-founded the nonprofit phoemale in 2016. This organization has been instrumental in assisting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and homelessness in Detroit.
Her compassionate nature and dedication to the underprivileged shone through in her work with phoemale. Missy Kinyon leaves behind a legacy of compassion, inclusivity, and community building.
She is survived by her husband, John Roberts-Kinyon, two daughters, Charlotte and Lucy, and her parents, Pam and Jim Binson. A private ceremony on December 1 will inter her near Tawas, followed by a celebration of life and fundraiser in January to honor her memory.
In the words of her husband, “She said, ‘I want a pie eating contest. I want a bounce house and a mariachi band.’ ” Missy’s departure has left a void, but her spirit will live on in the sunsets and sunrises, a reminder of the extraordinary woman who touched so many lives.