|Dave Skok forwarded me this awesome photo from Ross Kessler. Ross writes, “From the Murray Bar in Livingston MT on the wall of fame with many many others.” (click the photo to view full size)|
I wanted to pass along along links to a couple of retrospective articles on Jack published just this past month. The first is by Dave Souza of the Fall River (MA) Herald News, a longtime friend and supporter of Jack’s work. The second is by Elizabeth Laden, the publisher and editor of the Island Park (ID) News. I’ve never met Elizabeth but I know second hand a lot of the stories she relates and surely she’s a member of Jack’s “western family.”
And not coincidentally the term, “family” is what struck me most after reading these two pieces. For a man with few blood relatives, Jack had an amazing ability to inspire and create family wherever he went. And of course, he went everywhere. So he had a Boston family, a western US family, a Florida family, a Caribbean family. He had cousins in Europe and brothers in Africa, South American sisters, Canadian uncles and New Zealand aunts.
Both very fine reads. Thanks to Dave and Elizabeth for sending them along.
On October 9th the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum inducted Jack into its Fly Fishing’s Hall of Fame. Other inductees were John Randolph, Louis Rhead, and Art Lee.
Bummer to say that between traffic and weather the drive from Boston to Roscoe, NY took longer than I allowed for. I missed most of the actual induction ceremony. But I got there for the cookies and apple cider, with time to mingle and tour the museum. There was a dinner afterwords where Bob Popovics presented Ted Patlen with the Poul Jorgensen Golden Hook Award. Before presenting the award Bob voiced a few of his fond memories of Jack, including the story of how Jack got him into his first tarpon. Hearing the warmth in Bob’s voice as he spoke about the old days in the Keys, Vaca Cut, and the old Golden Grouper…it was one of the high points of the evening.
The museum is really interesting, packed with items of lore and tributes to fishers of legend. If you’re ever in the Roscoe vicinity (about 90 miles northwest of New York City) it’s well worth a visit. Jack’s friend Mel Harris once observed, “There were two things Jack was proud of…his flies and his lifestyle.” The museum’s exhibit does a fine job of showing both. It includes three of Jack’s self-published books: Scratching the Surface, Flies for the 21st Century, and Striper Strategies. There are fly boxes too, crowded with Gartside Gurglers, Soft Hackle Streamers, BeastMasters, Corsair Minnows, Sparrow Nymphs, and Gartside Pheasant Hoppers. There’s a Red Sox hat, a Christmas gift to Jack a few years ago to replace one he wore for years until it fell apart.
From Jack’s family of friends, a big thank you to Jim Krul and the rest of the museum staff for allowing us the privilege of seeing our friend honored in this way.
Here are a few pictures. Click them to enlarge.
In its summer 2010 edition of The American Fly Fisher, the American Museum of Fly Fishing announced the addition of an number of Gartside items to its collection. The items include books, fishing gear, personal items, and over 100 of Jack’s flies. Sara Wilcox of the AMFF was nice enough to send me a copy of the article to share with Jack’s readers.
The American Fly Fisher journal is a free benefit to members of the AMFF. You can become a museum member on their web site under the membership section, or, by contacting Sarah Moore by phone at (802) 362-3300 extension 205, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re not a member but would like to purchase a copy of The American Fly Fisher ($10 each), again, contact Sarah Moore.
“On Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 3PM the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum’s Hall of Fame Committee will induct four individuals into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is open to everyone and there is no charge or donation required. Through extensive research and a vetting process by the HOF committee the annual class is determined. The following four members will be recognized for major and significant contributions to the world of fly fishing: (living) Art Lee and John Randolph, (deceased) Louis Rhead and Jack Gartside.”
Katie Lavelle will be accepting the award for Jack.
I know some folks who are planning to attend, raise a toast, and maybe even do a little fishing on the Beaverkill. It’d be cool to see a nice turnout of Jack’s fans and friends. Here’s a little info if you think you might like to go…
The museum is in Roscoe, NY. Per Katie: “The Roscoe Motel is the cheapest place in town, nothing fancy but there are quite a few B and B’s up there that are quite pricey. The rooms at the Motel are 60 to 75 dollars a night, here’s their web site: http://www.roscoemotel.com/rates.html
Sad news. Last night, after a hospitalization of several weeks, Jack finally lost his protracted battle with lung cancer. He was in bed resting comfortably, attended by good friends. Outside his window the first snow of the season was silently falling.
Visiting hours will be held the evening of Wednesday December 9 in East Boston. A Funeral Mass will be held Thursday December 10 at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Winthrop MA. Read full details on the Ruggiero-Mazzarella funeral home web site.
Jack meant so much to so many of us. For his part, of his friends and fans he always said, “I’m the richest man I know.” Over the years there were so many stories written by those friendships: funny, warm, inspiring, head-shakingly amazing, and even a few death-defyingly nuts. Here’s hoping you’ll share your own thoughts or experiences with Jack in the Comments below (posted comments will appear after a brief delay).
Goodbye, buddy. You’ve gone on ahead. Most likely you’re already scouting the water, noting the currents and structure. So that when finally we catch up you’ll just point to a spot and say, “There. Cast your fly there.”