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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:25 pm • # 1 
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Location: Worthington, IN
July 20, 2013. My grandfather passed on from this life. My intent here is to write a tribute to the life he lived and how he has influenced my life. He passed on a set of values to me that I cherish both in life and sporting ethics.
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Born March 8, 1920 to Milton and Eula Burgess of Mitchell, IN he grew up during a period of depression and hardship. He was the next to last of 8 children, 6 boys and 2 girls. His father was an alcoholic and his mother a saint. Times were tough and money was scarce, he and his brothers spent their summers living in a river cabin on the banks of the East Fork of the White River, fishing for their next meal and gathering mussels from the gravel bars to sell to shell buyers. In the wintertime he would trap raccoon and muskrat for fur money, there were no deer in those days, or wild turkey.
In 1918 he joined with the Civilian Conservation Corps and traveled the country to make ends meet. He spent time working in Burtle Falls Oregon, Henrieville Utah, and Turkey Run Indiana. He always said he never saw a more beautiful place than Henrieville, Utah. He said some of the other CCC men would hike into a mountain creek and bring stringers of trout back to eat at camp. He never had a chance to fish for them but he talked about it often.

Here is a picture of his camp at Henrieville
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and a picture of him and all the other CCC men. He is circled towards the right of picture
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Also at this time he met my grandmother and said it was love at first sight. On July 20, 1940 they were married. Shortly thereafter he joined the Army Air Corps/ Air Force. He was assigned a position of tailgunner in a B-17 flying fortress.
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He spent most of the war in Cuba and fortunately never had to go overseas. His crew was scheduled to fly out with the next group and their orders were canceled.
After being discharged from the Air Force he came back home to settle down in Worthington, IN with his wife and soon to be 3 children. His father in law was and avid outdoorsman and he soon rekindled my grandfathers interest in the outdoors. At this time is when he first started to fly fish. In 1949 he acquired his first fly rod. I was lucky to come across this picture of him as we I was helping go through his belongings after his passing.
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I came along in 1980 the last of his 7 grandchildren. He had just retired from managing the local farm co-op for 30 years and I, living next door to him, was able to become very close to him. My father left my mother when I was 6 months and my grandfather became the father to me that I had never had. At an early age I remember him telling me that there was no finer way to catch a bluegill than with a fly rod. This of course left quite an impression on me. So at the age of 11 he took me to the local sporting goods store and bought me my very first fly rod. I was in heaven standing on the shore of his pond and learning to cast alongside of my hero. Somehow, despite all the mishandling by a boy of that age, that fly rod is still in one piece and fishable to this day 22 years later.
Recently he had fought a battle with bone cancer and a weakening heart. His health had diminished considerably and I was afraid I would not get that one last fishing trip with him that I so desired. One day last May he was feeling a little better so me and a friend decided to make it happen. We took him to the river and catered to his every need. He had the time of his life and it showed by the smile on his face. This was the last fish he ever caught... a freshwater drum
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It has been a tough few weeks for my family but my life is richer for having this man in my life. A few years ago I purchased the family homestead from him and now I have the ponds where he and I spent so many summer days together all those years ago. Now no matter which direction I look I can see what he has touched. My only hope is that I can be as much of an inspiration to my children and future grandchildren as he was to me.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:07 pm • # 2 
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What great memories. You'll carry those thoughts for the rest of your life.

Les


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:19 pm • # 3 
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Location: Chicopee, MA
Thanks for sharing.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:38 am • # 4 
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thanks for the read; very good-p-


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:33 am • # 5 
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Location: Winston-Salem, NC
That's wonderful, thanks for sharing this.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:23 am • # 6 
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Location: Cedar Park, TEXAS
What a warm & touching tribute. Your words resonate your love for him & more importantly
the love he showed you. You are so fortunate, as you know to have had such a wonderful man in
your life.
Thank you for sharing & I have to admit I started to tear abit.

God Bless you & your Grand-dad :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:15 pm • # 7 
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Roofish wrote:
What a warm & touching tribute. Your words resonate your love for him & more importantly
the love he showed you. You are so fortunate, as you know to have had such a wonderful man in
your life.
Thank you for sharing & I have to admit I started to tear abit.

God Bless you & your Grand-dad :)



Very Well Said Roofish.

"My intent here is to write a tribute to the life he lived and how he has influenced my life. He passed on a set of values to me that I cherish both in life and sporting ethics."

Grandparents like him are very special people, and it hurts like hell to lose them.

The values he taught you and the love he gave, live on in you. Not only in your blood, but in how you live your life every day. Just by being true to those values and ethics, you honor him.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:04 am • # 8 
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Very nice tribute. My love of fishing came from my grandparents too. A lot of great memories. Thank you for sharing.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:14 am • # 9 
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Bravo to you!
Cherish the memories. They're all we really have.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:23 am • # 10 
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Location: South Africa
Blinking eyes to 'still seem manly at work'. Thanks for that, sometimes I need a reminder that I'm not a stone golem.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:50 pm • # 11 
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Sir, you have been blessed and touch by an angel....your grand pa


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:15 pm • # 12 
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Location: Rusagonis, New Brunswick, Canada
You are a very rich man. What a lovely tribute to a life well-lived.
brent


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:31 am • # 13 
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Hi,

I live not too far away from you and fish down that way sometimes.

I lost my Mom this past summer. Your story about your grandpa helped me a lot!

You are truly blessed to have had him in your life - but you blessed him too :)

Thanks
Jay in Putnam County.
(I am also retired Air Force so I liked your Grandad's war time photos.) :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:53 am • # 14 
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Thanks for posting, you are indeed fortunate to have know him so well. My Grandparents lived so far away, I never got you really know them..................Don in SC


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:36 pm • # 15 
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I had a grandfather who first took me fly fishing even though he didn't do it himself. He was such a selfless person. I remember him putting down his old baitcasting rod and started cleaning the bluegills I was catching on poppers in a local farm pond.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:56 am • # 16 
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Only ever knew one Grandad he was from my mums side, A great bloke and terrfic grandad. Joined up for the 1st war when he was seventeen and lived through Ypres and Paschendale. He was a big guy for his day well over 6ft which for that generation was sizeable. He was quite a character too. As I got older he would share his memories of the great war with me when gran wasnt about.

We used to go fishing together although he never fished freshwater but loved sea fishing of the rocks around here . I remember he was out fishing with me a day or so after my 18th birthday and I was still feeling a bit under the weather he commented on my demeanor and I asked him what he had done on his 18th . He said very matter of factly he couldnt remember but thought he was at Ypres then and they didnt celebrate much.. I dont think that anything anyone has ever said to me since had such an impact as those few words. That generation were a remarkable people....

I still have his greenheart sea rod and mahogany reel one of my treasured possessions...Grandads are special people...

Andy


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:14 pm • # 17 
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Location: Longmont, Colorado
Hoosier...WELCOME and thank you for a great contribution and a really fine article. You were indeed a fortunate man to have such a fine mentor. You brought up for many of us remembrances of grandfathers and uncles who helped us along when we were just kids. I get really sad when I realize that so many young people have no mentors and not a clue about the gifts of nature and the great outdoors, especially fly fishing. Now that I am in my "golden years", I have come to realize that my entire life, my ethics and values, and who I am all came from having fishing and hunting mentors and those outdoor mags and books during my whole life.


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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 11:57 am • # 18 
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Location: Killeen Texas
Awesome story. I to miss my grandfather and have some of his old equipment. This makes me want to string up his old glass fly rod and put a bend in it that he would be proud of. I've kept it hanging in the wall above my tying station and have been going back and forth about using it. This makes me want to take it to the river and fish it.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:50 am • # 19 
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Location: West Central Indiana
Very late to this story but it touched my heart so I wanted to say thank you for sharing :)

Jay


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:41 pm • # 20 
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Thank you for writing. It is really something how when you are a kid, fishing with someone almost always seems to build important lasting bonds.


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