Remembering Rusty Gates
12/19/09…updated at 9:41 p.m. on 12/21/09:
There will be 2 visitations on Tuesday, December 22, at the Sorenson-Lockwood Funeral Home, 1106 W. North Down River Rd., Grayling, MI, 49738…(989) 348-2951. The first visitation will be from 2-4 p.m., the second from 6-8 p.m.
There will be a third visitation on Wednesday, December 23, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The funeral will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 23, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 708 Peninsular Avenue, Grayling, MI…with luncheon to follow.
Memorial donation information is near the bottom of this page.
It’s with great sadness that I write this: Rusty Gates passed away last evening in the company of family and loved ones at his home on the banks of his beloved Au Sable River.
Rusty meant so much to so many, he fought so hard for so much, and he remained altruistic to the end: worrying about his wife Julie who diligently cared for him, asking about his friends who he was no longer able to see, directing the Anglers of the Au Sable despite his deteriorating health. I would have expected no less from the man who remains one of the finest, most generous and least self-serving people I’ve ever met. He loved this river and the outdoors so greatly that it’s impossible to extricate one from the other. Whether it was birds on the railing of the board room, a fawn in the long grass during brown drake time, a long cast at dusk toward the spreading rings of a rise, or packs of coyotes running past his secret hex camp – they were all his home.
There are many, many people who were unable to say good-bye in person to Rusty, but the helplessness of this loss will hopefully be eased by the great care he took in ensuring that the resource that he fought for will continue to prosper under the protection he helped instigate. He once looked at me over a fifth of very fine bourbon and said that he was only a page in the history of this river. If it was only one page, it was a mighty fine page indeed. Details are tedious at this hour. Truly, this is a time for all of us who knew Rusty to spend time with our own memories, our own thanks, and our own silent well wishes to his family.
Please direct all necessary correspondences to the lodge phone and email. I will be here as long as I can, as often as I can, and with as much information as I can. A press release, instructions for memorial donations, and other news will also be offered at the Anglers of the Au Sable website: www.ausableanglers.org. There is a new forum on the Anglers site for all of us to write and discuss and remember.
I will update this site further as information is made available and the weight of this loss subsides. Rusty took great pains in preparing for this day and we will march onward, and in his spirit, as he arranged. I thank all friends of the river for their support at this difficult time.