Curt Gowdy, who over a span of seven decades brought a warmth and smooth delivery to his radio, TV and cable sportscasts and was known to millions of fishermen and hunters as The American Sportsman, died Monday, February 20 at the age of 86.
Gowdy passed away at his winter home in Palm Beach, Fla. The cause of death was acute leukemia.
Since 1951 he lived in the Boston Mass., and also retained a summer residence in Sugar Hill, N.H.
Curt had been on the board of trustees for the International Game Fish Association since 1985. One of his proudest moments he said was his induction into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame in 2003. Among his many honors he had been inducted into 19 other halls of fame including sports, broadcasting and conservation.
"As an IGFA Trustee for more than 20 years and a man who symbolized all that is right and good in our sport, Curt Gowdy will be deeply missed," said IGFA President Rob Kramer. "The fishing world has truly lost an icon."
A pioneer of radio sportscasting in the 1940s and TV in the early 1950s, Gowdy was the most prolific and versatile national sportscaster of the 1960s and 1970s. His demanding schedule called upon him to cover more major sports events than anyone in broadcasting history. It included coverage of an astounding 16 World Series, 12 Rose Bowls, nine Super Bowls (including the first one in 1967), 16 MLB All-Star Games, eight Olympic Games and 24 NCAA Final Fours of collegiate basketball.
Working for four major networks, he enjoyed a wide fan base, critical acclaim and the respect of his peers for his in-depth preparation.
"I grew up in northern Maine where the only two constants were seven months of winter and Red Sox baseball on radio," recalled Mike Myatt, IGFA corporate relations director. "During the season and 15 years of them, Curt Gowdy made us forget all about winter."
Among the tens of millions of fishermen and hunters across North America, Gowdy is regarded as the consummate outdoorsman for his role as the host and producer of The American Sportsman, which aired on Sunday afternoons from January to March across three decades. It was originally introduced in 1963 by ABC as a competitive fishing segment filmed on the border of Chile and Argentina for ABC's Wide World of Sports. The American Sportsman later brought the top entertainers, athletes and U.S. Presidents of the day, who liked to fish and hunt, into millions of homes during the winter months.
In a recent interview before his death, Gowdy spoke about growing up in his native Wyoming and the early lessons on fly fishing, conservation and catch-and-release taught by his father Ed in the 1920s:"The daily limit for trout was 20 then, now it's two. I was about to put a fish in my creel when my father said 'Curtis, remember the buffalo. There used to be millions of them on these plains, and then they were gone.' I released that fish because we already had enough for food and my father's words stuck with me the rest of my life. He worried about the future of game fish in this country and what could happen to them."
Gowdy is survived by his wife Jerre, daughter Cheryl Ann of Palm Beach and Boston, and sons Curt Jr. of New Canaan, Conn., and Trevor, Beverly Farms, Mass. Curt is survived by five grandchildren; Taylor, Katie, Grace, Alexa and Trevor.
Contributions in his honor can be made to the Curt Gowdy State Park in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Donations should be made out to Curt Gowdy State Park and sent to Julie Huntley, Division of Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites (for use at the park) Barrett Building, 2301 Central Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82002.
Contributions also in loving memory of Curt can also be made to the Jimmy Fund in Boston at http://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. The 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.
New Pending World Records
Each month the International Game Fish Association highlights documented fish catches from across the globe. IGFA world records coordinator Rebecca Reynolds provided the information on these 10 new potential records before the committee:
New Zealand teenager Ricky Corden of Kaeo, Northland, had an exciting catch that may beat an existing record by 30 pounds. The 14-year old boated a yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) after more than one hour fight while trolling the local waters of Wekaroa, Whangarda. It weighed 165 lb 4 oz (75 kg) for a potential male junior record. The current record is 134 lb 7 oz recorded two years ago. (Photo: yellowfin tuna --06020038)
Another junior angler, Bailee Casby, 8, Morgan Hill, Calif., U.S.A., landed a 2 lb 9 oz (1.16 kg) black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) using a mini jig while fishing Clear Lake, Calif. She's hoping her catch will beat the current five year old female smallfry record mark of 1 lb 4 oz. (Photo: black crappie - 06020012JR)
Koji Shitara, Naha-Shi, Okinawa, Japan, landed an oxeye tarpon (Megalops Oyprinoides) weighing 4 lb 3 oz (1.9 kg) on 16 lb class line in three minutes. Koji made the catch while fishing Yomitan, Okinawa and has a chance at filling in a previously vacant record. (Photo: oxeye tarpon -- 06020017)
Fishing the Rio Guatiquia in Columbia, Alejandro Linares, of Medellin, landed a Sardinata (Brycon whitei) weighing 4 lb 0 oz. The fish was attracted by an in-line spinner. Alejandro is hoping the fish and documentation will establish a new all-tackle record in the 2007 World Record Game Fishes annual. (Photo: Sardinata - 06020019)
While fly-fishing in Kona, Hawaii, Acha Lord, Reading, Mass., U.S.A landed a 2 lb 8 oz (1.13 kg) yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) on 4 lb tippet while fishing with a pink petras. Acha hopes to see her name in the presently vacant line of the IGFA record books. (Photo: yellowfin tuna - 06020037)
Four pound tippet was also used by Pam W. Marmin, Miami Shores, Florida, U.S.A. who landed a cero mackerel (Scomberomorus regalis) in five minutes. She made the catch which weighed 3 lb 15 oz (1.79 kg) while fishing Key West, Florida. She's hoping to set a new mark over the previous four-year old mark of 3 lb 8 oz caught in the same waters. (Photo: cero mackerel - 06020022)