At the start of a new year we pause to reflect upon the losses to our friends and colleagues in the taxidermy profession last year. Artists, family members, industry pioneers, and journeymen taxidermists were among the ones who left us due to illness, accident, unfortunate circumstances or the passing of time. We pay tribute to the lasting legacy of our comrades who will be missed and mourned within our extended taxidermy family. Here are some of the people who left our world during 2013.
Gail Rittel, wife of tanning legend Bruce Rittel of Taunton, Massachusetts, passed away in early January after a long illness. Bruce, the developer of Rittel’s Tanning Products and a tanning consultant, is a familiar figure at World, National and State taxidermy conventions. He has always been generous with his expertise and has offered years of free advice to taxidermists on the Forum who needed tanning questions answered.
When the news of Chris Barnhardt’s sudden death hit the taxidermy industry on January 22, the wave of shock flowed across the nation like a tsunami. Chris was a true original, a unique artist and a good friend to many. He had achieved success with National Champion and North American Champion title wins in mammals and game heads. A gallery of his work can be found here.
Robert Bennett of Bend, Oregon was a two-time World Champion game head taxidermist, winning in both 2007 and 2009 with wild boar mounts. On January 28, while recovering from the flu and pneumonia, “Burley Bob” suffered a massive heart attack and died at age 43. He left friends all over the taxidermy industry, from the entire west coat to North Dakota where he helped out working in several top studios.
In early March, Harley Getting of Hibbing, Minnesota passed away. Known as Harley on the Taxidermy Net Forum, he sold freeze-dried day old mallard ducklings, mice, small chase fish and pan fish to taxidermists. Harley was the father of Galen Getting of Edgewater Taxidermy.
Edwin Joubert Van Ingen
Ken’s Corner: Van Ingen: Legacy and Mystery
On March 12, 2013, the last surviving member of the famous taxidermy family Van Ingen brothers passed away in Mysore, India at the age of 101. His death marked the end of what may have been the largest taxidermy studio in the world, Van Ingen & Van Ingen. Established in the 1890s, it operated continuously over one hundred years until closing in 1999, and was the subject of Dr. Pat A. Morris’ 2006 book “Van Ingen & Van Ingen – Artists in Taxidermy”. In their heyday in the 1930s, the studio would regularly process over 1000 big cats each year.
Mark Bruce, of Boaz, Kentucky, was a 28 year-old employee of Boondocks Taxidermy, specializing in wholesale freeze-dry turkey heads. Mark had suffered seizures all his life since injuries from a car accident when he was young. He passed away on March 12th during a seizure.
Lee Boulware of Keyesport, Illinois, died suddenly in his home on May 3, 2013. Lee was a familiar face to participants of Yoxathons in Illinois and “Gator Wars”, a benefit seminar to help with expenses for Harry Paulson and Michael Schlabach’s kidney transplant in 2010. Known on the Taxidermy Net Forum as MDP62, which stood for “Million Dollar Plumber”, Lee had a successful plumbing business but also a special fascination for taxidermy and a love of learning it.
Ivy “Terry” Hunsaker
Ivy Triesta “Terry” Hunsaker, wife of well-known and respected taxidermist Jim Hunsaker, of Hidalgo, Illinois went to be with her Lord peacefully surrounded with many of her family and friends on May 20, 2013 at her home after a long battle with cancer. Terry was a homemaker and a in home caregiver for many years.
On June 7, 2013, Mike Mulinix, of Bozeman, Montana died unexpectedly in his shop. A talented artist, Mike was the recipient of the NTA’s 2006 Joseph Bruchac Award and the National Champion Open-Mouth Whitetail Deer award. He was a respected judge and loyal friend to many.
Gary Newell Stallard, of Wytheville, passed away Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at age 70. The swimming deer was mounted in 1992. It won a Blue Ribbon in Masters Division at the Virginia Taxidermist Association Convention judged by Bill Yox.
On September 27, Robert Anderson of Paradise, California died at the age of 89. Private 1st class Anderson was awarded the purple heart for combat injuries sustained while serving under George S. Patton in World War II. In 1970 Bob moved to Paradise, California, where he became a distinguished and highly respected taxidermist. Bob was a lover of nature which he expressed through his rare artistic talent. He owned and operated RC Anderson Taxidermy of Paradise until his passing. His steadfast work ethic, kind gentle approach and resilient sense of humor endured him to valued customers as well as friends and family.
World Champion bird carver Robert R. Guge, age 61, of Sleepy Hollow, Illinois, passed away on November 11, after a battle with a brain tumor. Bob was a renowned artesian and wood-carver. Bob’s accomplishments include being the five-time world champion of the Ward Foundation for Bird Carving and being the recipient of the Living Legend Life Time Achievement for Bird Carving. Bob’s work is displayed both in museums and private collections all over the world. Bob was the father of Josh Guge who is a World Champion fish carver.
Donnie Collier (known as Donnie C. on the Taxidermy.Net Forum) of Brock, Texas died in a tragic house fire on December 22. His wife and four children made it out alive, but Donnie was unable to escape the 4:00 a.m. blaze which engulfed his home. Donnie was a familiar presence on the Taxidermy Net Forum, injecting posts with his great sense of humor and his signature generosity.
Taxidermist Frank Petro of Frank’s Gun and Taxidermy Shop in Tunnelton, Pennsylvania was shot to death on New Years Eve in his shop. An apparent victim of a complex extortion plot that unravelled, Frank was shot during a scuffle and firefight with a extortionist posing as an undercover police officer. A surveillance video has been helpful in determining the sequence of events which lead up to the shooting.
Previous Year’s In Memoriam
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