Funeral for a Friend

I attended the memorial service for my fishing mentor Eric McDowell today.  Eric gave me a job at his consulting firm when I feared I might never have a professional job in Juneau again.  He then helped me find my boat the Dutch Master, rig it to fish, and then went fishing with me to teach me how to troll.  Everything from troubleshooting engine problems to proper leader length to hootchie and spoon colors.

I later deck handed for Eric on his new boat, caring for his catch with his other deckhand, Mark, and then buying the fish at the end of the trip.  The king salmon we are selling now are the last delivery of kings Eric made.

At 69, he was a young 69.   What a service.  Eric had so many parts to his life I hardly knew anyone there, and I thought I new him pretty well.  From basketball to AA to his
consulting firm to fishing to Alaskan singer and song writer he amassed a wealth of friends.  Although he was somewhat of a big wheel as far as his business went, his friends were mostly average Joes he met or helped or was helped by along the way.  His speakers reflected that.  Not one politician or societal leader spoke.  And the speakers all knew him in a different way, from fellow AA sponsor to business partner to basketball team mate to foster brother to son.  So the time I spent with him and knowledge he passed on seemed all the sweeter, knowing him in perhaps a way few next to his son did.

So, life goes on for the rest of us.  Funny, I put on my suit coat today.  And in the pocket was the program for my mom’s funeral 10 years ago, almost to the day.  So having not worn my suit coat for a decade means I had a pretty good decade.  And seeing my friend off today will keep me moving down the road to
do the things I like to do, it seems.

Mark Stopha
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK  99801

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