Lefty Kreh Remembered | MidCurrent

Picture: Beau Beasley

It is a particular story for the MidCurrent Information part from Beau Beasley, creator and director of the Virginia and Texas Fly Fishing Festivals. 

On Saturday, October 14, 2023, greater than 100 individuals stood shoulder to shoulder in a chilly, regular rain to honor a fly-fishing legend. The throng had gathered in Baker Park in Frederick, Maryland, to recollect Lefty Kreh (1925-2018), one in every of Maryland’s favourite sons and among the many best-known and most lauded fly anglers who has ever lived. Clutching umbrellas, Lefty’s pals and devoted followers listened to glowing tributes of the person from members of his household, longtime good friend Lily Renzetti of Renzetti Inc (who spoke on behalf of the bigger fly-fishing group), Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor, and Maryland State Senator Ronald Younger. The gloomy climate couldn’t dampen the spirits of the gang, a lot of whom hugged and reminisced, sharing tales from a life properly lived.

It might have been arduous to foretell the meteoric rise in Bernard “Lefty” Kreh’s fortunes on the idea of his humble beginnings: His father, who died when Lefty was simply seven years previous, had taught his son to hunt and fish–and after his dying the younger Kreh turned to Maryland’s woods and streams to deliver dwelling the sport and fish that may assist feed his widowed mom and siblings. After graduating from Frederick Excessive Faculty in 1942, Lefty went into the US Military, preventing within the Battle of the Bulge–among the many deadliest battles in American historical past–and serving to to liberate a focus camp. 

After the warfare Kreh returned to Maryland, working at Fort Detrick for the following 18 years. Whereas there, he and a few coworkers had been contaminated by anthrax, which Kreh alone survived. Researchers took anthrax samples from Kreh’s contaminated finger; what he didn’t know was that the pressure of anthrax generally known as BVK-1 was truly named after him.

Although most knew him for his consummate casting means, Lefty Kreh was additionally a longtime journalist and creator whose writing profession started at The Frederick Information-Publish, The Baltimore Solar, and The Miami Instances, and culminated in numerous articles for almost each out of doors journal and journal and greater than 30 books on the quiet sport of fly fishing. 

After Lefty Kreh handed away in 2018, those that knew him greatest–who had so completely loved his homespun attraction, eager witticisms, and humorousness–acknowledged {that a} vibrant mild had gone out of the world. In 2021, the Potomac Valley Fly Fishers Membership established Associates of Lefty Kreh (FOLK), a nonprofit group that promotes Kreh’s beloved sport via fly-fishing clinics, conservation applications, and tutorial scholarships for many who hope to launch their very own careers in out of doors writing and images. 

Led by President Andy Mekelburg, it was FOLK that employed sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez to create a sculpture of Kreh; certainly, the gang had gathered that day for the sculpture’s unveiling and dedication in Baker Park’s Culler Lake. That’s proper: The lifelike sculpture of Kreh, that includes Lefty sporting his signature hat and a pair of hip boots and casting a fly rod, is definitely in the water–simply precisely the place he would need to be. 

Amongst these readily available on the dedication was casting teacher, prolific creator, and Kreh protege and good friend Ed Jaworowski, who mirrored on his longtime fishing accomplice: “Lefty was the sort of man who made everybody really feel comfy. He didn’t give two hoots what your title was. He was simply as comfy with a blue-collar man as he was with a surgeon or a senator. In reality, I feel he most popular the blue-collar man–as a result of Lefty by no means forgot the place he got here from.” 

Others in attendance included shut good friend Heather Templeton, whom Kreh taught to fly fish and who made the pilgrimage to the dedication along with her household all the way in which from South Carolina. Members of the conservation group–together with Potomac Valley Fly Fishers, Trout Limitless, Fly Fishers Worldwide, Challenge Therapeutic Waters Fly Fishing, and Dr. Aaron Adams, Director of Science and Conservation for the Bonefish & Tarpon Belief–additionally confirmed as much as keep in mind Kreh and his longtime help of the causes dearest to their hearts. 

Throughout his outstanding life, Lefty Kreh fished with celebrities like Ernest Hemingway and American presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush. And but Kreh managed to make everybody he fished with really feel each bit as essential to him as anybody else. He was dedicated to spreading the gospel of the quiet sport of fly fishing to each particular person he might attain. How becoming it’s, then, that out of doors lovers can be a part of Lefty Kreh close to the very spot he was born, at a quiet, lovely group lake, open to all, for generations to return.

Donations of help can nonetheless be made to Associates of Lefty Kreh.  

Beau Beasley is the Director of the Virginia and Texas Fly Fishing Festivals. His newest guide Challenge Therapeutic Waters: Veteran’s Tales of Restoration In Their Personal Phrases will likely be revealed in November.

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