1967:  First Fish Mount at 16

The Early Years

     Always having a fascination for wildlife, I started learning taxidermy in 1967 through a correspondence course with the Northwestern School of Taxidermy...started working with birds.  There was a couple a few blocks from us in Leavenworth that raised pheasants, chukars, and quail so they were a source for specimens.  I wrote a letter to a Mr. Richard Schmidt, who was the taxidermist for the museum at Emporia State University, and sent him a few pictures of my work.  I asked him about fish mounting and he sent me back a (7) page letter with diagrams detailing how to proceed......I was very impressed that he took the time and effort to do this!  I was most appreciative and have never forgotten his encouragement and kindness.

     After high school, life moved quickly through college, marriage and family, the Marine Corps, a career with S.W.Bell Telephone, then a career with our local community college in Colby, KS..  Throughout, I kept my interests in hunting, fishing, and most of all my taxidermy roots, working part-time when and where I could.  

      Later in life, I was fortunate to be able to complete the full taxidermy training at the Colorado Institute of Taxidermy under the instruction of Gerald Vinnola in March, 2003.

   First Taxidermy Instruction