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February 21, 2006

CURT GOWDY, Dies at 86 Cont.

Continued

A great speaker, friend, conservationist and humanitarian 

Considered not only America's most versatile sportscaster, Gowdy is one of America's best extemporaneous speakers, storytellers and emcees. In presenting hundreds of after-dinner speeches with a combination of wit and humility, he's regaled audiences of sports and fishing enthusiasts that included Presidents, princes, governors and generals, with exciting moments from the athletic fields, diamonds or courts along with special experiences he had on The American Sportsman. 

Outside of broadcasting, Gowdy's creative and theatrical achievements also flourished. One of Curt's favorite professional moments was appearing with the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by John Williams, in a series of 1988 springtime concerts reading one of baseball's favorite poems "Casey at the Bat."  His performances, which included the emphatic growl of the umpire calling strikes, were so popular that in 1990 he recreated the recitations with the Boston Pops under the direction of Keith Lockhart in concerts in Boston, Tanglewood and Nantucket, Mass., plus traveled on tour with the Pops to several mid-western cities. 

Gowdy also appeared in six movies, many in cameo appearances including the comedy Naked Gun and Summer Catch.  He also authored two books, Cowboy at the Mike in 1966 and Seasons to Remember in 1993 and a contributing author to many, many more.

Curt and Jerre made their winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, and a long-time summer home in Boston.  Jerre joked about Curt's arduous broadcasting career and extensive travel schedule saying she and the family saw him for only half of the years of their marriage and rarely on holidays.

Curt was heavily involved in conservation and environmental causes serving on the board of trustees for such groups as the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association, the IGFA and as a founding member of Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited.. 
He has also worked for over a half century with humanitarian efforts including the Boy Scouts of America and with numerous non-profit children's health charities. Among them as the celebrity host emcee for nearly two decades of the Redbone Celebrity fishing tournament series in the Florida Keys for cystic fibrosis; honorary chairman for the Epilepsy Association as well as over 50 years for the Jimmy Fund for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.  Curt was also a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Boston Shriners and their work with burn victims at the Boston Shriners Hospital.

Gowdy's objectivity, enthusiasm, compassion, clarity and insight --- into sports in general and the outdoors in particular --- are difficult to surpass.  For all the honors and accolades he's received, he remained a pretty soft-hearted, approachable guy; literally a friend to hundreds of thousands of people who crossed his path or heard his voice over the airwaves. 

Over the past several years during appearances at Boston Red Sox games, though retired, he was asked to sit in the ESPN booth and do an inning or two. He did five.  In August, 2005 at Boston's Curt Gowdy Day at Fenway Park he was again up in the radio and TV broadcast booths for more innings and never was he better.   

The pioneer of TV sportscasting, Curt Gowdy will long remain its most versatile broadcaster and indeed the "Voice of all Seasons".

Gowdy is survived by his wife Jerre, daughter Cheryl Ann of Palm Beach and Boston, and sons Curt Jr. of New Canaan, Ct. and Trevor, Beverly Farms, Mass. Curt is survived by five grandchildren; Taylor, Katie, Grace, Alexa and Trevor Curtis.

The Gowdy family will receive friends Wednesday, February 22th, 2006 from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. at Bethesda By The Sea in Palm Beach, Florida.
On Friday February 24th, the family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Trinity Church in Copley Square Boston, Mass.

Funeral Services will take place Saturday February 25th at 1 p.m. at the Trinity Church in Copley Square Boston, Mass. A private burial will follow.
Contributions can be made to the Curt Gowdy State Park in Cheyenne,Wyoming, 1351 Hynds Lodge Road, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 82009, phone 307-632-7946.

Contributions in loving honor of Curt can also be made to the Jimmy Fund in Boston at www.jimmyfund.org.   The Jimmy Fund supports the fight against cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a world-renowned pioneer in discovering and developing innovative, effective cancer therapies for both children and adults.  Phone number for the Jimmy Fund is 1-800-52 JIMMY.  Or gifts can be sent to  the Jimmy Fund, c/o  Contribution Services, 10 Brookline Place West, Brookline, Mass. 02445.

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Pat Smith was the long-time Emmy award winning writer of The American Sportman series.  Smith's profile of Curt Gowdy was updated, researched and expanded 2/2006 by Pete Johnson, a friend and fishing partner of Gowdy, and compiled for Gowdy International. For further information e-mail Johnson at johnsoncom@aol.com or 480-951-3654 or Cheryl Ann Gowdy at Cheryl@gowdyinternational.com or 561-653-9999.