Despite our best efforts to hold on to the past, time marches on relentlessly. As 2014 comes to a close, we pause to pay tribute and reflect on the family, friends and colleagues that we lost during the year. In my family, the circle of life in 2014 was bittersweet. I lost my only sister suddenly to a heart attack in May, yet saw the arrival of two precious new granddaughters in January and November.
The losses to the taxidermy community were bittersweet as well. The departed’s absence from our lives will be felt for years to come, but their work, their art, their relationships, and their memories will live on within those of us whom were touched by their presence in our little corner of the world. Here are some of the friends, family, and colleagues that we lost in 2014.
J.R. Campbell of Greenwood, Delaware was a man of many talents and achievement. One of the best taxidermists in his area, he was also the president of the Delaware Taxidermist Association and active in the NTA. He was a successful businessman as a National Sales Director for Conklin Company, a devout Mennonite and a talented musician, performing in a local gospel group. J.R. had a rare blood disorder and was vacationing in Hawaii when he passed away.
Greg Hamill, a Nebraska taxidermist and 12-year veteran of the Omaha Police Department, died February 21, 2014 from complications of the H1N1 influenza (commonly referred to as the swine flu). Greg is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and two children, ages 9 and 11.
News article: Omaha police officer dies from H1N1
Bob Brown of Sivko Fur in Canisteo, New York lost his battle with leukemia Sunday May 4, 2014. He is survived by his father and mother, two daughters and a son, and Ann. Bob was loved, respected and admired by all of his friends whom he made at the many taxidermy conventions he attended.
Peter Cua of the Philippines passed away June 10, 2014 in Manila. Peter was the world’s leading pioneer in taxidermy miniatures, which he successfully competed with all over the world. Peter used the skins of fetal animals and mounted them over miniature resin mannikins for stunning results. He was also well known as an innovator, statesman, Liha (table tennis) ambassador, historian, and father of the post-modern global Liha movement.
Stanley Leger, an 80-year-old Beaumont, Texas taxidermist died Tuesday, June 24, 2014 after being shot by police when he allegedly refused to lower his weapon.
Sandy Cook passed away on July 10, 2014. She was well-known as the loving wife and companion of Buzzi Cook from North Bend, Washington. Sandy was a truly talented taxidermy finisher and friend to all who knew her.
Dirk Claesen of the Netherlands was a World Champion taxidermist, having won the Best in World Reproduction title at the 2008 World Taxidermy Champaionships® held in Salzburg, Austria with a white rinocerous reproduction. Dirk passed away July 13, 2014.
Ed Piaskowski of Massillon, Ohio, was a taxidermist of extreme talent, winner of the North American Champion Whitetail Deer Open-Mouth Award, the Joseph Bruchac Memorial Award, and the Taxidermist of the Year Award at the 2009 National Taxidermists Association Convention held in Huntsville, Alabama, and the winner of the Best In World Whitetail the 2009 World Taxidermy Championships® held in St. Charles, Missouri. Ed passed away Thursday, August 7th.
Jean Haynes of Sharpsburg, Georgia passed away on August 19, 2014. Jean was the wife of past NTA President Bill Haynes and was well-known and universally admired by all who met her. Jean spent much her life with physical problems that would have debilitated anyone else, yet she was never without a smile and sincerity that shone through for all to see.
Jim Van Hoesen
Jim Van Hoesen of Rogers City, Michigan passed away on September 11, 2014. Jim was the husband of World Champion taxidermist Jan Van Hoesen and was a familiar presence at National and World conventions. Jim was always the consummate gentleman, as well as a genuine scholar.
Randy Pike of Adrian, Missouri, was a multi-talented Renaissance man. He was the winner of the Best in World Fish at the 1988 World Taxidermy Championships held in Macon, Georgia, and was a big part of the organization of the World Fish Carving Championships and seminar program. Randy passed away from an unexpected illness on September 20, 2014.
Connie Roof of Magnolia, Delaware was the wife of George Roof, of The Good Stuff taxidermy. Connie lost her 25 year battle with cancer and other medical problems on November 13, 2014. As one of our most prolific Forum members, George’s loss was deeply felt by all of his extended family. Over 200 messages of condolence were posted on the Forum.
Chad Hornbuckle of Woodland, California was an outstanding taxidermist, having won a WASCO Award in 2009. Chad passed away on on November 27, 2014 after a long fight with cancer.
South African taxidermist Dennis Pickard died December 3, 2014, after a short illness with cancer. Dennis operated DonClaire Taxidermy in Newcastle and was the past president of the Taxidermy Association of South Africa where he was instrumental in the creation and operation of TASA convention. He and his wife Jenny also attended the World Taxidermy Championships here in America in 2005 and made many lifelong friends.
Taxidermist Brian Durham of Belcamp, Maryland died December 20 in a tragic hunting accident. Brian was a member of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Taxidermists Association and dedicated countless hours towards the association. Known on the Forum as Rattrap, Brian was an active contributor.
Previous Year’s In Memoriam
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/threads/290121/
In Memoriam 2010: http://www.taxidermy.net/threads/245312/