Click Here to Listen To Bob Cary's Farewell (With Music By Eli Bissonett)
Bob Cary, 84, died at home in Ely, Minnesota on Saturday, June 17, 2006. He was born in Joliet, IL, on Oct. 20, 1921 to Rex and Cornelia Cary.
He attended public schools and graduated from Joliet Community College in 1941. He attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, studying commercial illustration in 1946-47 on the GI Bill. He attended the Ojibwe language school 1988-89.
Cary enlisted in the U.S. Marines, Feb. 1942, served with 2nd Marine Division in combat in Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and Tinnian, 1942-1944. He became a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
He was employed by Illinois Natural History Survey in waterfowl research, 1947-48. He was the outdoor writer for the Joliet Herald News 1948-1955; editor and outdoor writer for Joliet Spectator 1956-57 and the outdoor editor for the Chicago Daily News, 1958-1966.
Cary moved to Ely, MN where he was a canoe outfitter, wilderness guide and founded and ran Canadian Border Outfitters, 1966-1973.
He became the editor of the Ely Echo weekly newspaper in 1974 and continued as the outdoor writer and columnist to the present. He was a guest columnist for the Mesabi Daily News in Virginia, MN and Duluth¹s Senior Reporter .
He published books including "The Big Wilderness Canoe Manual, "Winter Camping," "Born to Pull," "Tales of Jackpine Bob," "Ely Echoes: The Portages Grow Longer," "Bush Pilots: Legends of the Old and Bold," "Fear Was Never an Option" and illustrated many more. He also wrote "Root Beer Lady," a biography of legendary Dorothy Molter, the frontier woman who lived 54 years in the wilderness, most of it alone.
He free-lanced articles to Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, Minnesota Sportsman, Travel, Minnesota Monthly, Boundary Waters Journal, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal and other publications.
He was a lifetime angler, hunter, trapper, canoe camper and a cross country ski racer for 30 years.
In conservation efforts, he assisted Illinois Izaak Waltons in getting 3,500 acres of Joliet Arsenal land transferred from federal to state ownership for public recreation area in 1950; organized Will County Clean Streams Committee in the 1950s; coordinating efforts of Izaak Walton League and Wildlife Federation members in an antipollution drive resulting in fish restoration in a number of rivers. He won the Illinois Izaak Walton award for his antipollution articles.
He served on the DNR Advisory Committee for Gov. Wendell Anderson; served on the state committee for the Minnesota Lottery to provide funds for natural resources; served on the committee to establish the International Wolf Center at Ely. He organized and taught in the Wilderness Guide School, held in Ely, Eveleth, Duluth, MN, 1967-1970. In Ely he served on the Advisory Committee for the Northern Tier High Adventure Base, Boy Scouts of America and served on the Nordic Ski Association board.
For two years he was the host of the WELY radio show "Camp Talk," appeared in numerous outdoor TV shows and was a frequent speaker and lecturer at Elderhostel and public schools.
He ran for President of the United States in 1980 as candidate of the Independent Fisherman¹s Party. Lost to Ronald Reagan by 63 million votes.
He was married to wife Lillian for 46 years until parted by her death. He married Edith Sommer in 1998. Both women were excellent anglers, shooters, canoe paddlers, campers. "How lucky can one guy get," he said.
His favorite avocations were camping, canoeing, fishing, hunting, landscape painting, writing and being the drummer for the Starlighters swing band for the past five years. He is survived by his wife Edith, daughter Barbara (Stephen) Hall of Duluth, MN; granddaughter Jessica Hall of Duluth; sister Joyce (Howie) Scheidt of Joliet, IL; stepson Jay (Ann) Sommer and their children Alex and Isak Sommer of Walker, MN; stepdaughter Annette (Joe) Baltich of Ely; three nephews and two nieces, many cousins, and a world of friends and fishing buddies.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father Cornelia Heun and Rex Leroy Cary; daughter Marjorie Kavney, and wife , Lillian Kluge Cary in 1993.
Services are slated for Saturday, June 24 at 11 a.m. at St. Anthony¹s Catholic Church with Pastor John Fossum of the Grace Lutheran Church officiating.
Memorials are preferred to: Lil Cary Ojibwe Library and Scholarship Fund at Vermilion Community College, Salvation Army or Christian Children's Fund.