The sun set on the Kenai for two guys I’m going to miss dearly. I was hoping to write about Mother’s Day today, or talk about a wonderful neighborhood razor clam fry on Friday, but instead I’m honoring two men who passed on May 7th. This post honors the legacy of Bob “Deano” Laflamme, and Will “Wilbur” Robertson.
It’s an understatement to say the good Lord will have his hands full with these two.
When sifting through my archive of photos, a common thread became obvious with Deano. In nearly all the photos, he’s high fiving or waving at me. I can hear him yelling as the photo was being taken, and I do mean yelling, “hey buddy!”
I met Deano and his wife Janet (JBL) because of my friendship with their son, Todd. The Laflamme’s lived in Connecticut/Florida, while Todd lived in Anchorage. Deano and JBL would come to Alaska for most of the summer, and Todd would bring them down to the Kenai to fish. Here’s a nice father/son moment and a personal king salmon best for Deano. He still claimed he caught an even bigger king, but it was out of season. The whole river knew it too. When he was fighting the out of season fish he was yelling, “look at the size of that son-of-a b*%$@” at a very high volume. Deano’s amp was never set below 11.
Here’s Deano fist pumping after catching the first silver salmon of the day. Notice Todd in the background laughing as he was talking trash about catching the first fish.
And, look at the background of this photo taken seconds after the one above. Not only is Todd laughing, so is JBL. Classic Deano.
JBL, Todd, and Deano enjoying family time on a dreary Kenai day. This was one of the few times Deano wasn’t high fiving/fist pumping. It’s hard to do when your hands are full.
What can I say about Dr. William “Will, Willie, Wilbur, Bill” Robertson? It’s difficult because much of it can’t be repeated on a family friendly blog. I’ll start by saying Will was a colon/rectal surgeon practicing in Austin, Texas. After meeting him for the first time, we exchanged emails and kept in contact through the years. His email address name clearly reflected his humor….sphincter boy
Like Deano, there is a common thread with the photos I have of Will. Clearly, it’s his humor. Take the photo above for instance. After a particularly tough morning of fishing, Will wanted to be in the end of the day fish photo even though he was skunked. He said, “this is my look of shame.”
Will loved fishing around the world, and he took tremendous joy in catching pink salmon. Sure, he would tolerate an occasional silver hook up, but he sure loved catching big ol’ Wilbur’s on the Kenai.
King Wilbur. Chuck Sanders’ photo clearly captures the moment when you wonder what will come out of Will’s mouth next.
Will was scheduled to be in Alaska this August with the Gary Blinn crew. No doubt, many, many stories will be told in honor of this man. If you would like to see additional photos and commentary about Will, I blogged about him not too long ago. You can find it here.
Larger than life? You betcha. These two were all of that. Deano, Will….I miss you already.