On July 3rd 2017, Bill Silvia passed away after a brief battle with cancer. Although not a member of EJTU (Bill belonged to the Ken Lockwood Gorge Chapter) he was frequently seen on our fishing trips and often attended our Veterans Services / Project Healing Waters projects.
Bill was an accomplished fly tier and fisherman, who was always willing to share his expertise and knowledge with other anglers. He will be missed greatly. An excerpt from his obituary on nj.com follows.
William H. Silvia 'N.J. Fly Fisherman of the Year,' of Millington, 74 William H. Silvia, 74, of Millington, N.J., died at home on July 3, 2017. Bill was born and raised in Jersey City, N.J. He served in the United States Army and worked for Patent Construction Systems for 42 years. After retiring, Bill became a master fisherman. He was N.J. Fly Fisherman of the Year in 2010. He is survived by his wife, Diane; daughters, Jane Epstein and her husband, Adam, Beth Silvia, and two granddaughters. Memorial will be private. Memorial donations may be made to projecthealingwaters.org.
Don Sirota 2017
On Saturday, April 1st, 2017 Don Sirota, a long time EJTU member, died. Don spent many years working with the Chapter and he was the first to take on the effort to locate and build a handicapped anglers access in our area.
Don spent many hours reviewing possible locations, looking at plans and presenting the project to municipalities where we hoped to locate the access, but we were turned down and, sadly, the access still is looking for a home.
Don also served as the Chapter’s librarian. In the days before youtube, the chapter maintained a library of magazines and DVD’s which could be borrowed by our members and Don lugged cases of library materials to every membership meeting and tracked the members who borrowed the information. Don also participated in many of the educational events conducted by the Chapter. I think this was his favorite thing since he loved working with kids and was great teaching and engaging them.
Don suffered from Huntington’s disease so, for the last several years, participating in EJTU meetings and events was limited by the toll that the disease was taking on his body. Don was a private guy when it came to his illness and opted to forego offers by several members to provide transportation when he could no longer drive.
At Don's funeral his two teenaged grandsons proudly wore flies that they had tied with Don on the lapels of their suit jackets. Don was involved with many things during his life but EJTU was one of only two affiliations mentioned in his obituary. Don’s EJTU cap was placed beside him in his coffin. His spirit will continue to support us in all we do. Rest in peace and may the trout always be rising.
Eugene Bielen 2017
Eugene seen sitting to the left of Al Morel, age 89, of Rochelle Park on Friday, January 13, 2017. Eugene is survived by his loving sister Ruth Taracka of Greenwich CT. Eugene was a United States Army Veteran serving in the Korean War. He was a member of the Rochelle Park American Legion Post 170, VFW and longtime Trout Unlimited.
Gene could usually be found sitting in the right side (when looking at the guest speaker) front row of our EJTU meetings. He will be missed.
Donald A. Ecker 2017
East Jersey Trout Unlimited's Founding President Donald A. Ecker passed away on January 2nd 2017. Don was a great friend to our chapter and our mission of coldwater conservation. He will be greatly missed. Don's obituary can be read here.
In 1971, in the most populace county in the most densely populated state in the country, a group of individuals had the foresight to start a chapter of Trout Unlimited that would become one of the primary stewards of the region’s precious waterways.
Don Ecker, an avid fly fisherman and an outdoor columnist for The Record newspaper, had been a member of both the Sparta, NJ chapter of TU and the Theodore Gordon Fly Fishermen. However, like a lot of northern New Jersey fishermen, he wanted a chapter much closer to home and one that would dedicate itself to protecting the rivers and streams of the ever-expanding suburban landscape. So he contacted National TU and applied for a new charter. From a list of New Jersey members that National TU had sent him, he assembled a group of individuals who would become the foundation of East Jersey Trout Unlimited.
In the same Fort Lee apartment where Don and his wife Barbara lived until his passing, this group of men and women met and laid out the plans for the new chapter. The application was completed, National TU approved it, and East Jersey Trout Unlimited was born.
Ed Sikorski 2013