Sunday, September 15, 2013

Remembering Dennis

For those of you who knew Dennis Todd, I am sorry to report his death in a boating accident on Trafalgar Bay Thursday afternoon (September 12). The boat made an unexpected 90 degree turn. Both Dennis and his passenger were thrown from the boat. She had a PFD on and was able to swim to shore. He did not have one on and could not make the long swim in cold water.

So here I sit remembering Dennis from the over 25 years that he worked for us. He was a very generous man. Anyone who was unable to get out to fish could count on Dennis stopping by with a few walleye for dinner. The afternoon of the accident Dennis sent home with Bruce three dinners worth of walleyes. They are in my freeze right now.

For the past several years Dennis brought up enough Missouri Walleye (catfish) for the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center to have a fish fry as a fund raiser. Generally speaking there was not a piece of fried fish left. In fact the volunteers who served and cooked the meal made sure that they got their share of fish too. Dennis never appeared at that event and just took it for granted that you did what you could to help out. Supplying fish was what he could do and the museum was grateful for it.

Some of you may remember the years that we raised pigs at the stable. Dennis would bring them up from Missouri in his boat. In the fall he would help butcher them and he taught Bruce how to make bacon. There were some might fine meals from those pigs. Also many of the kids who stayed with us got to see a live pig for the first time.

Trafalgar Bay was probably one of Dennis’s favorite places to fish. He certainly found lots of walleyes for his guests to catch. Bruce and I went up there several times with him. The first time we went up Dennis took a small walleye off my line and banged it on the side of the boat. All of a sudden a huge eagle appeared to receive the tossed fish.

I soon learned that this was George a semi-trained eagle. Who knows how Dennis got started feeding this eagle but the bird knew who Dennis was by the time we saw him first. Apparently George knew the sound of Dennis’s motor and only came when he heard that motor. It is quite an experience to see an eagle catching a walleye right next to your boat.

Many of you have enjoyed the smoked ribs, salmon, prime rib and chicken done on our large smoker. What you don’t know is that Dennis arranged to have the smoker built for us in Missouri. He also made sure that we never ran out of hickory wood to use for smoking these meats. Again it was just something that Dennis did because he saw a need that he could help with.

Next summer is going to be an eye opener for us. There will be holes in our lives that Dennis filled and we have forgotten about. Many of you will also be remembering your great fishing days with Dennis. Think about him when you eat your next walleye dinner.


Anonymous said...

Sue and Bruce and Gunflint staff.
I am truly stunned and extremely saddened by the news about Dennis. He was a great guy and so much fun to be around when we visited the lodge. He truly cared about us having a GREAT experience while we were there. I will have many wonderful memories. My prayers go out to you and his family. I can not tell you how sorry I am.
Anita Behm
Winneconne, WI

Bruce Neal said...

Thanks Sue for letting us know all of the great things that Dennis did for others. I will miss him. Prayers for his son and family.
Bruce Neal

merlin said...

Thanks so much for the kind words about Dennis. I'll never be able to think about him without smiling.

Jen said...

Sue and Gunflint Family
I heard about Dennis' accident on public radio yesterday. I never met Dennis when I stayed with you, but I know how long and deep the Gunflint Lodge family is in your part of the woods. My thoughts are with you and Dennis' family and all who loved him.

Edward Nelson said...


I did several outfiited trips with you in the early 80's. Dick Griffen signed us up from Barrigton H.S.

I'm sorry to hear of Dennis's death. I didn't know him, but I can sympathize. I can't understand how he could have hit a rock, as he must have known the lake.

Edward Nelson