1958 - 2008
The NFDA will miss Doug and all his
contributions to the the organization.
"My largest pike is a 34 inch fish taken in
Michigan. Still hoping for "The
each time out."
Doug was born November 18, 1958, in a Southeastern Wisconsin town called
He was settled in Williams Bay, Wisconsin with his wife until a courageous
with cancer took his life in the spring of 2008.
The interest in collecting fish began in 1987 and by the mid 90's he decided
it was time
to try and make one on his own. Doug says, "My first examples weren't
and some didn't even sink. So, I gave up on carving for awhile." (See...
even some of
the greatest carvers have floaters!) He attempted to start carving again in
1998. It must
have been turning 40 that gave him a new outlook as he began to develop his
of fish and painting. With the help of other carvers he was able to improve
and the performance of his decoys.
moderately priced at $12.50 per inch for working fish and plaques.
Jig sticks and other folk art items usually started at $50 and went up from
on size and how complicated the design is.
First, Second, and Third Best in Show, Service Working Class, GLFDA
Show, Monroe, MI. 2004.
Best in Show, Service Working
Class, The Gathering, Perham, MN. 2005 & 2007.
Best in Show, Service Working
Class, ASC Show, Maplewood, MN. 2007
Being selected to appear on
the Fish Decoy Calendar in 2006 was a special honor.
many favorite carvers, "Some because of their work, some because of their
personality, and some because of the help and support they have given me
over the years".
"Lawrence Bethel is one of my
favorite carvers. He made a great fish at a fair price and had a great
outlook on life. Harley Ragan and Mike Holmes of Michigan are 2 more of my
favorite carvers. These guys took me spearing for my first time and I was
hooked from the beginning. They both make great working decoys, and some
pretty awesome decorative fish, plus they have also been very supportive of
my work. Another favorite is Tom Richards from Cadillac, Michigan. He’s
the real deal, he’s
out there spearing every chance he gets. He makes a super working decoy at a
price, plus he turns out some awesome spears. Tom is not only a decoy maker
and part time collector, but he’s
a historian with a wealth of information about Cadillac area carvers. One
more I need to mention is Dennis Bertram of Minnesota. He spears everyday of
the season, makes a darn good spearing decoy, and like Tom Richards, he
collects decoys/spears and has a bunch of good information about spearing
history in his area."
As far as just collecting fish
decoys, Doug liked the work of Jim Pullen of Cadillac, MI., Henry Max of
Fergus Falls, MN., plus the work of many other carvers in the northern
states. His collection contained some great folky examples of old fish by
unknown carvers, a nice mix of Wisconsin made fish decoys with some Lac du
Flambeau Native American style decoys.
When it comes
to Doug's favorite memories, here is what he said...."
"Over the years of attending shows and competitions I’ve
met so many great people. Most are fellow carvers, some are collectors, but
ALL of them are enthusiastic about fish decoys. Meeting Lawrence Bethel for
the first time at my first Perham show was a kick, and something I’ll
never forget. Being with Harley Ragan when he speared his first big musky
was a thrill. Spending time with all my "fish head"
friends is one big special memory, and it’s
hard to pick out one event or memory. The Perham Minnesota Gathering show
has always been a favorite, and the socializing aspect of that show is
super. It’s the best collection of good carvers
and people I’ve
experienced in my few years of carving
be remembered as a warm hearted, energetic, and high spirited