~ In Memoriam 2016 ~

Cancer hit the taxidermy industry especially hard in 2016, taking most of the friends that we lost. 2016 will also go down in history as one of the most devastating years for loss of major celebrities. Dozens of musicians, actors, entertainers and world leaders who died during the year made for and endless parade of “In Memoriam” features across all media in the final days of December. In our little corner of the world, we had our own industry celebrities as well as associates, family members and friends whom we have lost. At the start of a new year we pause to reflect upon the lasting legacy of those who will be missed and mourned within our extended taxidermy family. Here are some of the people who left us during 2016.

Phillip CharlesPhillip Charles

Forum post: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php?topic=399114.0

Phillip Charles of Waipu, New Zealand died in a tragic car crash on May 13, 2016. Phillip was a regular visitor to the World Taxidermy Championships, where he often welcomed the international guests at the banquet. He was the owner of Tinopai Taxidermy Supply and was a friend and host to many North American taxidermists when they visited his beautiful country. Phillip had been battling cancer for over five years when he died.

Obituary: http://notices.nzherald.co.nz/obituaries/nzherald-nz/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=180026919

Bonnie LavalleeBonnie Lavallee

Forum post: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,399172.0.html

Theresa “Bonnie” Lavallee, the beloved wife of Jean Lavalee for 58 years died from breast cancer on May 14. One of our oldest contributors, Jean (known as JL on the Forum), lives in Merrimack, New Hampshire, where he has been practicing taxidermy for over 65 years and posting on the Forum for 20 years.

Obituary: http://www.rivetfuneralhome.com/home/index.cfm/obituaries/-view/fh_id/12874/id/3724172

Gary BowenGary Bowen

Forum post: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,399469.0.html

Gary Bowen, formerly of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and later of Littleton, Colorado, died on May 24, 2016 after a long illness. Gary was a world-renowned master taxidermist, a developer, inventor and patent holder of several innovative taxidermy products, and a longtime contributor to Breakthrough Magazine, as the author of the original “Back to Basics” article series. He was inducted into the Iowa Taxidermy Association Hall of Fame in 1999.

Obituary: http://www.thegazette.com/obituaries/gary-bowen-20160626-0000020875-01

Lola HaynesLola Haynes

Forum post: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,399365.0.html

The matriarch of the modern taxidermy community, Miss Lola Haynes attended every NTA convention until her declining health prevented her from travelling. Lola and Charley Haynes were the original founders of the National Taxidermists Association in 1972, and she taught one of the very first taxidermy seminars ever given at a convention. Miss Lola passed away on May 21, 2016, two months before what would have been her 93rd birthday.

Obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/lola-haynes-obituary?pid=1000000180120653

Sam CarrafielloSam Carrafiello

Forum post: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,399418.0.html

Ontario taxidermist Sam Carrafiello, known as DT10Sam on the Forum, passed away in May 2017 after a long battle with cancer. A big-hearted man with a passion for life and learning, Sam was a frequent attendee at taxidermy workshops and seminars, where he made many lifelong friends.

Dan BlairDan Blair

On August 26, 2016 Dan Blair of Wasilla, Alaska lost his long battle with cancer. Dan was a prolific writer, wood carver, taxidermist and outdoorsman. He was an associate editor of Breakthrough Magazine in the 1980s as well as a major contributor to “The Breakthrough Habitat and Exhibit Manual.” He founded the largest internet Fish Carving group with hundreds of members and nearly twenty years of success. Dan was also a talented poet, artist, and inventor. He was instrumental in the success of the International Fish Carvers & Painters Association and assisted with the World Fish Carving Championships.

Bill GaitherBill Gaither

Forum post: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,403243.0.html

Multi-talented wildlife artist W.D. “Bill” Gaither of Ludlow, Kentucky passed away on October 12, 2016. A highly successful flat artist and sculptor, Bill also had close ties to the taxidermy community he loved so much, giving seminars and working on special projects. For many years, Bill was one of our most prolific and interesting contributors on the Taxidermy Net Forums, posting as “Cur”, which was short for curmudgeon, a characterization he wore with pride. Many of his posts can still be seen on the old Forums at http://www.taxidermy.net/forums/ where you can search for “cur” to get a sense of his wisdom and humor.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bill.gaither.18

Bruce BabcockBruce Babcock

Forum post: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,403642.0.html

Bruce Babcock of Kalispell, Montana passed away on October 22, 2016 after a two-year battle with brain cancer. Bruce was a 45 year veteran of the taxidermy profession, and was a founding member of the Montana Taxidermy Guild in the early 80’s that later became the Montana Taxidermist Association. His love for the art of taxidermy was apparent in his work which was featured prominently in the taxidermy publications of the time.

Obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/heraldnet/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=182420577

Article: http://flatheadbeacon.com/2016/11/10/the-animal-artist/

Kathy PowellKathy Powell

On November 12, 2016, Kathy Powell of Awendaw, North Carolina passed away after a courageous five-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Kathy was the beloved wife of Tom Powell of McKenzie Taxidermy Supply and earlier Tom Powell Supply Company. Tom and Kathy had been married for 38 years.

Obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/kathy-powell-obituary?pid=1000000182500166

Steve SteinbringSteve Steinbring

Forum post: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,404225.0.html.

Steve Steinbring of Newton Supply in Miami, Florida passed away suddenly on November 13, 2016 due to a deep vein thrombosis and embolism to his lungs. Steve was known in the taxidermy industry as “The Epoxy Guy” for his innovative products he developed and sold through his company, Epo-Grip. He was a competitive bow shooter and bowhunter. Along with his son Eric, Steve was a regular fixture at industry trade shows, manning his booth and teaching seminars, and was a great friend to all he knew.

Previous Year’s In Memoriam

In Memoriam 2015: http://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=1492

In Memoriam 2014: http://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=1160

In Memoriam 2013: http://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=1064

In Memoriam 2012: http://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=776

In Memoriam 2011: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,290121.0.html

In Memoriam 2010: http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,245312.0.html

Permanent link to this article: http://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=1814

The 2016 WASCO Award Winners

The 2016 convention season has come to a close, and the results are in! To me, the most compelling part of each competition is when all of the judges get together collectively pick what they feel is the most artistic entry in the entire show. I have been in on many of these lively discussions and the judges always make it a point to give a great deal of thought and consideration to fairly choose the entry they feel is most deserving of this prestigious award.

The WASCO Most Artistic Entry Award is presented to the most artistic piece in a taxidermy competition. The winner is chosen collectively by all of the judges from the entire competition. WASCO Award winners receive a polished acrylic award and a gift certificate from WASCO (Wildlife Artist Supply Company).

The winning entries were chosen by the following criteria:

1. Exhibition of Taxidermy. The entry should tastefully display both the subject as well as the taxidermy profession in a favorable light. The taxidermy should be of good competition caliber, without any obvious flaws to the casual observer. The close scrutiny of a judge’s flashlight should not be as important as the overall impression of the piece from a normal viewing distance. The main requirement is that the animal portrayed looks “alive” to the viewer. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=1778

Thanksgiving and Cancer

This fall has been a time of tumultuous change in my personal life. I have struggled with whether or not to publish this blog, but I felt that my longtime readers and friends would appreciate understanding my situation. I hope you all can indulge me with this single blog departure from focusing on the taxidermy industry and allow me to be more personal than I am generally comfortable with. I have never been one to post my daily shenanigans on Facebook, tending to keep my private life private, but on this Thanksgiving, my heart is full and I wish to share a bit of it.

It’s funny how our lives go on and on with slow incremental changes. Sometimes we have to look back for years to recognize how things are different from the way they were before. And then, out of nowhere, there are unexpected times when all of the waves and winds come crashing together into a prefect storm of turbulence, and life changes on a dime.

Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=1759

The Arc of Taxidermy History

Taxidermy is on an upswing. If you had to chart the overall perception of our profession to the general public, it would have probably started going downhill in the 1960s after Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psyco” and remained low for many decades. In the past twenty years or so, taxidermy began to enjoy a renessaince of sorts with high quality competitions leading the way. Taxidermy started showing up more in commercials, reality television shows, and on the internet. Interior designers rediscovered taxidermy and started using it to decorate millionaires’ penthouses. A revolution of new-age millennial artists became involved in expanding our perception of what taxidermy could be. I never thought I would see the day, but taxidermy is actually COOL now. And that is not merely my opinion. Just this past week, Elle Magazine published an article entitled “How Taxidermy Became Cool Again“.

Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=1746

Carl E. Akeley, Action Hero

At the dinner reception at the Clarendon Historical Society before the unveiling of the Akeley monument stone in New York, a display was presented featuring various memorabilia from the life of Carl E. Akeley. Mostly provided by taxidermy historian John Janelli of New Jersey, this display featured letters, photographs, documents, banquet programs, and literature inspired by the amazing experiences in Akeley’s life. As such, he was a favorite subject for the men’s adventure magazines and comics of the early twentieth century. One of the items was an action-themed comic book showcasing the African adventures of the honoree. Since the statute of limitations on the copyright had expired, I photographed the pages of the comic book to read at a later date. I am presenting the entire strip here for the enjoyment of our readers. Read the rest of this entry »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.taxidermy.net/ken/?p=1718

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