Notable Club Members
Throughout the history of the Richland Rod & Gun Club there have been many members that have served as Club Officers, Directors and volunteers, all of whom have done outstanding work for the Club. The numbers are too large to honor everyone but there have been few that have gone beyond the norm and have made everlasting contributions to the Club and its future. The members mentioned below deserve special notice for their accomplishments and some of their major contributions can be read by clicking on their name.
Lowell joined the Club in1946, was president of the Club in 1949 and 1950. Lowell Johnson' passing on Jan.17, 1980 will not end his influence on matters concerning conservation and its implementors: hunters and fishermen. Lowell was a charter member of the Club at its formation in 1946 and was responsible for the direction the Club took in its activities. He initiated and instilled the positive and constructive attitude that has resulted in a high level of accomplishment by the Club in all areas of conservation. Those members that were touched by Lowell are perpetuating and conveying his approach to others.
Lowell promoted its membership in the Washington State Sportsmen's Council in 1950 and instigated the Club's first Annual Banquet and Big Game Dinner. He was president of the WSSC in 1963 and an organizer of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders and the Columbia River Conservation League which beat the Corps on the Ben Franklin Dam issue. He was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Washington Environmental Council in 1970.
In 1964, Lowell Johnson was one of five citizen leaders that received an award for “Outstanding Service to Conservation”. He was selected for this award from the area of Washington, Alaska and Oregon for his unusually good and dedicated work as President of the Washington State Sportsmen's Council in 1964. He was instrumental in reorganizing the council and developing new leadership. The plaque was awarded at the annual meeting of the WSSC in Yakima
One of the most significant of Lowell's many accomplishments was his recognition of the potential of the Ringold Springs area and his perseverance in bringing the Ringold Salmon and Steelhead Rearing Ponds into existence. Lowell was an excellent fly fisherman with rainbow trout, steelhead and smallmouth bass of principal interest. He was a pioneer in developing flies and fishing techniques for trout in initially the Pothole Lakes and later the Quality lakes. Lowell's positive thinking and forward looking approach will always be remembered and will remain a legacy for the Club. It was a privilege to have shared his thinking.
Bill joined the Club in March 1953 and started the attending Board of Trustee meetings in July. He became active in Wellsian Lake rehabilitation, fly tying classes and the Program for Club meetings. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in February 1954 and continued his Program activities. He was elected Vice President in 1955 and assumed the duties of the Fish Committee Chairman. He was elected President in 1956 and was the Club's Legislative Chairman from 1957 through 1961. His Club activities included:
· Participated in the Hanford area bass fishing and the Frontier Days Show.
· Attended a meeting in Moses Lake concerning Waterfowl Hunting regulations and fishing.
· Attended a meeting in Dayton in 1958 of the Interim Committee of the State Legislature regarding deer and elk damage to farm crops.
· Attended a meeting of the National Wildlife Federation in Sun Valley, Idaho on July 1958 concerning the efforts of Northwest Sportsman to save migratory fish swimming up the Snake River.
· Worked on “Make Steelhead a Game Fish in Oregon”.
· In September 1960 sent six page report on Conservation Legislation to Washington Legislators.
· Attended 1960 Portland meeting on commercial fishing seasons in the Columbia River.
· In 1960 attended formative meeting of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders and was nominated to be Treasurer
With respect to his activity in the Washington State Sportsmen's Council (WSSC), he started attending the as the Club's delegate in September 1955. He attended the four quarterly meetings from 1956 through 1961 either as delegate or Chairman of the Steelhead, Finance or Historian Committees. He was elected Second vice president in 1961 and received the Weisfield Trophy as the Outstanding Sportsman in Washington State for 1961. He published the “History of the Washington State Sportsman's Council from 1934 to 1957” in 1957.
In 1962, at the age of 45 he decided to change careers from Chemical Engineering to teaching. He received his Doctorate in Business Administration at the University of Washington and taught at a number of northwest school's.
In August 1976, Ernie Berreth, my daughter Kathleen and I backpacked with Bill in the Idaho Sawtooth's for a couple of days. Reminiscing was the order of the day and the evenings around the campfire were especially enjoyable. Bill and his enthusiastic outlook will remain a great legacy for the Richland Rod and Gun club.
Harold joined the Club in 1957, was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1963, Vice President in 1964 and President in 1963, Vice President in 1964 and President in 1965. He volunteered to take over Vice Presidency in Nov. 1995 and was elected President in 1996. He received the 25 year Belt Buckle Award in 1985, the Distinguished Service Award in 1996 and Life Member Award in 2003. He was on the Board of Trustees for several years, Chairing the following committees: Program, Landowner Sportsman, Financial, Special Events, Public Lands, Special Assignments and volunteered on many Club projects. He was a Captain on the Club's Raffle Fundraiser. He also taught Hunter Education classes and for 18 years (1993-2011) was a cook at the Club's Salmon Booth. He was also a delegate to the Washington State Sportsmen's Council.
In Feb.1965, as President he led a group of Club members in discussions with Basin farmers concerning trespass problems. It was agreed that the Club would post signs and get out publicity aimed at improving hunter behavior.
In June 1966, as part of a group went to the Klicker Ranch in the Blue Mountains to view damage.
In September 1966 he received a letter from John Biggs, Director of the Game Department congratulating the Club on our fine example of close cooperation with the Game Department and for our leadership and initiative in this State's wildlife programs.
In April 1967, he won the Club's Moose Hunt drawing.
In Oct 1970, He taught a Red Cross first aid course with emphasis on mountain rescue.
In Feb. 1971., He taught a standard and advanced Red Cross first aid class with emphasis on out of doors types of accidents.
Bruce and Delia Teeple
The Teeples joined the club in 1960. Delia was treasurer in 1970 and 1971. In 1971 Delia and Dorothy Smith shot a moose in Canada and with 100 lbs of Moose meat decided that with help the club could cook the Big Game dinner on it's own. Bruce was also an active participant. Everett Weakley and Bob Zinsli arranged for use of the Knights of Columbus facility which was well equipped for food preparation and cooking large amounts of food plus a large room which could seat up to 200 people. The dinner was a huge success and set the precedent for continued cooking of the Big Game Dinner by Club members. Delia was the chief cook for Big Game dinners through 1980. Based upon two large metal cookers that Bruce had built from a design that he got from the Department of Fisheries when they cooked salmon with their cookers for a Club banquet, they decided do use them for the Club's salmon picnic. This was the first year that wood fired cookers were used to cook salmon for the Club picnic. Delia identified the ingredients used to marinate the salmon fillet's before cooking.
Bruce was treasurer for the Richland and Gun Club from 1974 through 1981. In 1982, Bruce retired and they decided to spend the spring through fall months at their cabin at Twin Lake's on the Colville Indian reservation.
The contributions of the Teeples to the Club's well being and enjoyment were outstanding. They set examples that the Club continues to profit from.
Mitch Kershaw joined the Club in 1949. He was a much respected Game Protector and Richland Rod and Gun Club member who had a great empathy for people in general and sportsmen in particular. He regularly attended Club meetings and always had information or advice that was useful for the sportsman. It was always a pleasure to run into Mitch in the field during his Game Protector years. It was common to see him looking through a spotting scope perched on the hood of his car. I remember after an evening of fly fishing for trout at Camp Lake he said he could almost tell what kind of fly I was using.
Mitch was responsible for our first Big Game Dinner in 1951 when he gave the Club two deer that had been road killed on the Hanford Project. The venison was prepared and served to the Club at the Desert Inn. It was excellent and the dinner became an annual affair.
In the early years of Firearm Safety training when instructors were in short supply and the student backlog was overwhelming, Mitch demonstrated his interest in yourth by giving freely of his time to not only instruct but attend the classes of other instructors to provide the Game Department's views.
Mitch retired from the Game Department and moved to Alderwood Manor in the Seattle Area. In October 1966 he donated an excellent book for the Club's monthly door prize drawing. The book was “Mountaineering” written by the Seattle Mountaineers. It covers everything from trail hikes to rough mountain climbing, food, clothing, cooking and equipment.
In March 1997 the Club received a donation of $2000 for use in Youth Activities from Mitch Kershaw's son. It was based on his appreciation for an In Memoriam published for Mitch Kershaw in the Club's Bulletin in 1978. He discovered it while going through some of Mitch's old papers.
Mitch, his interest in sportsmen and the outdoors, will long be remembered by the Club.
Dick was a life long member of the NRA. He joined the Club in 1962, was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1964 and continued for 14 years mostly as Legislative Committee Chairman,
Secretary in 1965, Vice President in 1966 and President in 1967. He received the first Distinguished Service Award in 1975. He was District Director and the Club's representative to the Washington
State Sportsmen's Council (WSSC) for 14 years. He reviewed quarterly resolutions for Club approval and attended their four annual meetings. He was elected President
of the WSSC in 1977. (The WSSC was comprised of most of the organized Sportsmen's Clubs in the State and met quarterly at various locations in the State. It was disbanded in the 1990's)
He volunteered on many Club projects including:
*Presented opposition to Ben Franklin Dam in 1967,
*Led a backpack trip to the Enchantment Lakes in 1968,
*Study on management of Potholes Reservoir in 1970,
*Led tree planting at McNary Dam and Dalton Lake in 1971,
*Helped to build, repair and clean guzzlers,
*Was a Team Captain on Fund raising Raffles,
*Represented the Club at the Pacific Northwest Conservation Council in Moscow, ID
*In 1977 was part of a group that met with Governor Dixy Ray on issues of
concern to sportsmen.
*Attended a Season Setting meeting with the State Game Commission in Olympia
*In 1977 was on the Club committee that met with Landowners and Game Wardens about
the trespass problem in Franklin Co.
*Won a place on Club's Salmon fishing trips four times.
*Shot on Club's trap and skeet teams in 1978 and 1979
*Won the Club's Big Game Hunting trip in 1978.
In 1980, Dick left the area for a job outside of Washington State. Dick was a very active club member and contributed a great deal to the success of the Club during his membership. Dick died in 2018.
Eddie was a giant in the Richland Rod and Gun Club. He joined the Club in 1977 and was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1978 and was Secretary from 1996 until he passed away in 2014. He received the Distinguished Service Award was presented in1982, the Gardner Cranston award in 1999 and a Life Member Award in 2001.
As Secretary, one of his principle duties/responsibilities was writing and issuing the monthly Club Bulletin which was outstanding. In addition, he made it a point to be present at many Club activities; taking photos and listing the names of the members participating for use in identifying the Club member with the most annual volunteer hours ; publishing in the Bulletin the winners of the monthly door prizes and photo contest; e-mailing Club members significant actions of the Wildlife Department that influence hunting and fishing seasons plus the need for volunteers in Wildlife Department activities; identifying club members that received awards at the Wild Game Dinner and annually listing and distributing the contact information for the Officers, Board of Trustees and Volunteers.
He was always open to new ideas. He develop the Club's first digital bulletin and published it on the Club's website making it available to members and non-members. Also he posted a General Meeting report each month on the Club's newly established Facebook site. These reports included the highlights and photos of the key points made at the meeting.
It's apparent that his total contribution as Secretary amounted to a full-time job and when asked about it, he said it was fun. His motivation came from his huge interest in the outdoors, wildlife and hunting and fishing. His overall contribution to the Club has been in the superhuman category and the Club will never forget it.
Eddie and I were friends for many years and for a time worked for the same company. Over the years we have had interesting telephone conversations stimulated by our mutual interest in hunting and fishing. I will greatly miss these conversations and valued his opinions highly. I have always been grateful for the help he gave me on some of my computer problems.
A few years back, Eddie and my then 11 year old grandson Matt were stuck in the Salt Lake City airport. Since Matt was always hungry, Eddie treated him to a pizza. Matt talks about that often.
Eddie died Sept. 2014
Claire Cranston joined the Club in 1978 and was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1978. Having been a Hunter Education instructor in New Mexico he began instructing classes sponsored by the Club. In 1981, he participated in a hunting rifle fall sight- in with Tri-Cities Metallic Silhouette Association. In addition, he participated in a review of the hunting regulations of the Umatilla Wildlife Refuge; reviewed and made recommendations on legislation being considered in Washington State legislative sessions; represented the club at the Washington State Sportsmen's Council; taught in a “ Short Course on Women and Guns-Home Protection with Firearms”. In 1982, he began teaching Club sponsored Hunter Education in the basement of Phil's Sporting Goods in Pasco and also started assembling a team of Certified Instructors that taught classes on regular basis. In addition, in 1993 he was in charge of the first Friends of the NRA banquet in the Tri-Cities to raise money that could be used for local shooting activities; he taught a hunter education class for women and as a representative of the Club attended a meeting of the Northwest Sports Fishing Industry Association.
In 1995, because of an expansion at Phil's, Clare had to move the Hunter ducation facility to warehouse number five at Big Pasco. Generously, Phil agreed to pay the $1500 annual rental for the warehouse space. Classes continued to be held nearly year around. Although not required, Claire provided additional handling of firearms in a range day activity involving brake action pellet rifles which were purchased by the Club. In 1997 a total of 284 students were taught Hunter Education by a team of 16 Certified Instructors and assistants. Within a year or so range days begin to be held at the Tri-Cities metallic silhouette or Rattlesnake Mountain Shooting Facility using firearms that were donated in addition to some of Claire's.
Clare also became certified as an Aquatic Education instructor and held a class in 2001.
As an incentive, the top students in Hunter Education classes were eligible to attend a Youth Conservation Camp on Orcas Island or participate in a youth pheasant hunt. The first pheasant hunt was in 2001 and involved starting with a clay pigeon shoot at the Connell Gun Club followed by a pheasant hunt generally at the Limits Game Farm. Also in 2001 Claire put on a Hunter Education exhibit for Refuge Day at the McNary National Wildlife Refuge
In 2002 the space in the warehouse was no longer available and Claire made arrangements to move the Hunter Education facility to a room at the Griggs Department Store.
In other activities, Claire loaned some of the Club's firearms to the Riverview Baptist Church summer camp for Hunter Education use; he initiated an air rifle shooting range at the Tri-City Sportsman's show; conducted a woman and youth Introduction to Firearms class and in conjunction with the Fishing Kids activity in May he and other instructors conducted an Aquatic Education class at the Grigg's facility.
In summary, with the start in 1982 in the basement at Phils, Claire was involved in Hunter Education classes that were taught almost monthly until June 2010. Claire's contribution to Hunter Education in the Tri-City area was outstanding and will probably never be equaled.
In addition, Claire was very active in conservation legislation activities and was appointed as the Club's representative to the Northwest Sportsfishing Industry Association.
Art Mitchell joined the Club in 1951 and was Treasurer from 1956 to 1958. He was a very active long-time member, a Firearm Safety Instructor, and served as Chairman of many Club committees. He was the Club’s liaison representative to the National Rifle Association, was a life member with membership dating to 1925 and attended many of their annual meetings.
He was always willing to help on club projects and could be counted on to participate in the preparation of and serving at Big Game Dinners and Crab and Salmon Picnics.
Art served on the Benton County Park Board for four years and was the driving force resulting in construction of the Fishing Pond and the Club Picnic Shelter in Columbia Park. He was the leader in the lining up of the volunteer heavy equipment operators and their equipment for the construction of the Wellsian Way Juvenile Pond in1950.
Art was also responsible for the construction of the Civilian Air Patrol airport south of Richland used for many years. He was very active in the CAP and organized and led a youth rifle team.
Art was a well respected sportsman with many ideas and enthusiasm for the things he participated in.
Richard F. Foster
In April 1950, with a degree in Fisheries Management, Richard F. Foster (Dick) became involved in the Clubs Bass Transplantation Project. This consisted of a group of Club members catching smallmouth bass, on artificial lures, in some of the sloughs adjacent to the Columbia River 20 to 30 miles north of Richland. The fish were tagged, placed in a tank and transported to the Yakima River where they were released. The plan was that these fish would augment what what was thought to be a depleted supply because of overfishing. Dick participated in this weekly activity and kept a record of bass caught and released. He prepared a report and presented it to the Board of Trustees on June 5 ,1950 and distributed it to local agencies. Based on this effort the Club issued him a one year membership. His bass transplanting activities continued for the next five years until he left the area.
In August 1950, Club president Lowell Johnson appointed him to Chair a committee that would identify good books on hunting and fishing to help the new Richland library stock it’s shelves. In October, a list of 60 books and eight periodicals were submitted to the library. A letter of appreciation was received from Richland’s Parks and Recreation Division.
In February 1951 Dick was elected to the Board of Trustees and became Chairman of the Fish Development Committee. In February 1952 he was elected Vice President of the Club and President in February 1953. He was very active in the Club :
For the Wellsian Way Juvenile Pond he worked on construction, filling with water and in cooperation with the State Game Dept. the planting of bluegills, bass and trout at various times in attempts to establish a sustainable fishery,
He found meeting places and identified speakers for programs at the meetings,
Organized fishing trips on the Snake and Yakima rivers and Banks lake
Proposed smallmouth bass fishing regulations on the Columbia and Yakima rivers in conjunction with the Club’s bass transplantation to the Yakima river activity,
Wrote a letter to the State Legislature supporting and encouraging the Game Dept’s land acquisition program which was very active during this period,
Worked with the Game Dept’s Wildlife Refuge Supervisor to develop plans for refuges in the Columbia Basin Project,
In December 1953, he was the critical speaker at the meeting that resulted in the establishment of the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in the Othello area, he prepared an emergency resolution supporting creation of the refuge. He submitted, spoke for the resolution and it was passed at the Ellensburg December 13, 1953 meeting of the Washington State Sportsmans Council providing the support necessary for creation of the refuge. The refuge has been actively managed since 1955, a big plus for sportsmen.
Obtained Dr. Donaldson, Professor of Fisheries at the University of Washington as speaker for the Big Game dinner,
Retained a lawyer, Mr. Lawless, to prepare Articles of Incorporation for the Club which were subsequently approved by the Board of Trustees,
Was involved with resolutions to the Washington State Sportsmen’s Council (WSSC), was a periodic delegate and was Chairman of the activity required to host the Dec.1954 quarterly meeting of the WSSC in the Tri-City area,
Was Nominating Committee chairman Jan.1955 and a member of the committee in December 1955.
Unfortunately, from the Club’s standpoint, in 1956 Dick Foster was transferred away from the Tri-City area