A dear friend passed recently. Dave Richey, consummate newsman, accomplished bowhunter and respected outdoors writer for The Detroit News died Munson Medical Center in Traverse City following a stroke. He was 73. Among the many honors he received were the Ben East Award for Excellence in Conservation Journalism and SCI Detroit Chapter Outdoor Writer of the Year. He was named to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in 2006 and was a past president of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA).
I meet Dave in Louisiville at the 1980 OWAA convention when he was president. I recall Sam Venable and I cutting up with him there about him giving the then Secretary of Interior James Watts a stuffed red fox at a news conference. Natives of Michigan, Dave and his brother George were barbers who fished and pioneered fly fishing for salmon running off of the Great Lakes to spawn. This propelled Dave into the fishing writing business and beyond, but his brother George continued to run their shop. I knew George, who passed away about 15 years ago quite well. He was an avid collector of old fishing lures, and even wrote a book on Michigan made lures I have stuck around here somewhere. He was a solid, salt-of-the-earth fellow who was of a very gentle nature.
Dave was the more dynamic of the two. His hobby was dealing in old sporting magazines. He was a protégé of Outdoor Life editor Ben East. When East died, George salvaged his papers. Last summer when I was researching Gatlinburg’s Joe Manley (the author of the first fishing guide book to the GSMNP), despite being in poor health, Dave was good enough glean Ben East’s papers for information on East’s fishing trips to the Smokies with Manley. That’s the sort of fellow he was.
Always willing to help another writer or fishermen, Dave was a great fellow and an inspiration to many of us when we were cubs in the business. The last time we spoke around Christmas, I brought up him presenting that red fox to Secretary Watt. It took about five minutes for him to stop cussing. I hope the reconcile on the other side now they are together.