A great American roughfisher has passed.

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the pyromaniac
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A great American roughfisher has passed.
<p>None of you know the name Claude van Dyke, unless Normus happens to be lurking and reading this.&nbsp; He wasn&#39;t famous, didn&#39;t have a TV fishing show, and never wrote an article about fishing.&nbsp; All he did was work to take care of his family, and occasionally slip away to fish.</p> <p>Claude van Dyke was born to Dutch immigrants Grover &amp; Mae van Dyke on January 25, 1923, in Buchanan County, Virginia.&nbsp; Like his father before him, Claude worked in the coal mines for most of his adult life.&nbsp; He nearly died in an avalanche of coal at age 8, but survived when his 15-year-old brother sacrificed himself to push young Claude out of the way.&nbsp; At age 12, Grover died in a work-related accident, related to explosives and a new mine shaft.&nbsp; At age 15, Claude experienced the loss of his second brother, who died in a collapsed mine shaft.&nbsp; Still though, he worked the mines until age 62, because there were no other jobs in this area that paid reasonably well (which is still true).</p> <p>He served in World War 2, operating a mountainside gun turret in Hawai&#39;i as part of a coastal artillery batallion.&nbsp;</p> <p>Claude has been sick since the mid-1980&#39;s with black lung, emphysema, and various forms of cancer, all of which are directly related to his time in the mines.&nbsp; He has come close to death many times in the mines and since his retirement, but he kept plugging along.</p> <p>Last week, he became ill and resisted going to the hospital for three days.&nbsp; He finally went last Saturday, and was moved to a bigger/better hospital in Tennessee on Wednesday.&nbsp; He lasted about 36 hours.</p> <p>I am Claude van Dyke&#39;s only grandson.&nbsp; He taught me to love baseball and fishing.&nbsp; I once figured up that we caught nearly 40 species between us on all the fishing excursions we undertook between 1982 and 2001.&nbsp; He was the only family member who ever truly understood me.&nbsp; My daughter looks exactly like him.</p> <p>Claude van Dyke died on September 13, 2013, at 5:20AM eastern time.&nbsp; He went peacefully in his sleep.&nbsp; Today has been a difficult day, but I dealt with it in the way that roughfishers do, by spending some time on the riverbank.</p>
Corey's picture
Deepest Sympathy

My condolences for your loss, thank you for sharing your grandfather's story with us.

GatorGrip's picture
"The River Just Knows"

"The River Just Knows" song by RODNEY ATKINS.  

I to lost my Grandfather a few years ago now who loved to fish for Black Crappie or Specs as they are commonly called around my neck of the woods. He was stricken with lung cancer when I was stationed at my last duty station in Alaska and although I wanted to stay in Alaska I felt it my duty to come back to Florida to help take care of him. I still miss fishing and talking with him so I can understand your pain. My condolences to you and your family in your time of loss but he is now probably fishing in the river that’s filled with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb in Heaven by now. (The River’s description is found in Revelation 22:1)

Gunnar's picture
Fishing with Grandpa

Fishing with Grandpa. Nothing like it. I'm sure I'm just one of many who will read your story and flash back with smiles and tears in our eyes to times on the water with grandfathers now gone. I very clearly remember the day when I was about 6, in a boat on a lake in northern Idaho, when my grandfather explained to me the concept of patience in the context of fishing. He told me it's something a good fisherman has to have. I've applied it to fishing and much else in life, always thinking back to him.

I'm sorry for your loss. Go fishing as often as you need to. Teach your daughter some of what he taught you.



Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers: moxostoma.com

2020: 10 days fishing 11 species 0 lifers. 2019: 34/45/13 2018: 39/40/5

the pyromaniac
the pyromaniac's picture
Thanks for the kind words guy

Thanks for the kind words guys!  It's been a hard couple of days, but it's going to be OK with time.  I'll be tearing into the Clinch River and its tributaries with a vengeance this week to get my grief on...  The lifer streamline chub I got Friday, 3 hours after getting the news, helped a lot.  Lifelist entry to be created tomorrow, most likely...




Let there be fire!

GatorGrip's picture
A Poem I found that says it well...

For years, the riverbank was where

Your soul felt most at peace

Your heart was most content when there

With the fish and the geese


But then, your spirit came to rest

Where angels chose to roam

And once equipped with ten pound test

You made yourself at home.


The sky became your deep blue sea

The clouds became your shore

And there, for all eternity

You sat with friends galore


Each angel was a fisherman

Who had traded his pole

For golden wings and a game plan

At Heaven’s Fishing Hole.


The tales you told about each catch

Its stature and its girth

Will live in memories unmatched

As days pass here on earth


Until we meet again, one day

Upon God’s golden sand

We’ll picture you, no other way

                                   Than with a pole in hand.                                             


© 2006 – Jill Eisnaugle’s Poetry Collection     

the pyromaniac
the pyromaniac's picture
Thanks for sharing, Greenwood

Thanks for sharing, Greenwood!  He sounds like a great dude, wish I could've met him...




Let there be fire!