IN MEMORY Of JOE KOZAK
I remember the first time I talked with Joe. You could tell he was excited to come up here, and man did he have questions. It seemed like he may have been burned by a different fishing lodge before, and he was making sure, multiple times, that things were exactly how I said they were.
It was July of 2010, when he first graced us with his first trip to the lodge. Tall, slender, and getting up there in age was Joe. He also brought with him his lovely wife Dorothy, which we were to find out they married just a few years prior.
Elissa and I hit it off with Joe and Dorothy, and it wasn't long until they were back up (I think it was 2 weeks later). They had such a great time up here, I know it was therapeautic for Joe, and was reliving his glory days. You see, Joe was battling cancer and came between the Kemo treatments. What a great way to spend the time that you have away from the hospital.
As our friendship grew, we learned more and more about Joe. He was quite the cook, and had recipes for just about everything. He also headed up the Garlic and Honey Festival in the Pembina Valley. It was evident that Joe was a true outdoorsman, he loved the outdoors, and he loved to eat from it!
This is also where I got my contact to go turkey hunting. I was blessed with the opportunity to hunt on his friends ranch, where I made Joe proud and harvested my first Miriam Gobbler during a snow storm. I am still not sure who was more proud, myself or Joe.
As Joe and Dorothy were tired of everyone else catching the big big walleye, they wanted to book at a high quality time, as well as book myself as a guide. So we picked a time in later June 2011 that worked for both of us. As the dates approached, Joe was not feeling so good. No one from their home town thought it was a good idea for him to come up- but Joe thought otherwise. He more than made it, and also brought another close couple with them. Here is the article from their hometown newspaper:
It was an honor to guide Joe on that trip, and to see such a big silly grin as he pulled up the masters. I'm not going to say it wasn't challenging guiding the crew, but we made it all work out. I feel that I was extremely blessed to have given him such a great trip, and more importantly a great time with his wife Dorothy and friends.
Three weeks after having them in my boat, I got a call from Joe's daughter and could tell from her voice that this wasn't going to be good news....... Joe had passed away.
Needless to say I was hit with all sorts of emotion, both happy and sad. I can't help but cheer up when I think about Joe reeling up the next moby dick, and holding a beautiful golden Tramping Lake master. Next year at the lodge just won't be the same.....
Thanks for all the memories Joe, you will be greatly missed.
|Joe's First Tramping Lake Master Walleye|
Bryan and Elissa Bogdan
Wekusko Falls Lodge