A Tribute to Dick Silk
The Maryland Ducks Unlimited community recently lost one of its biggest advocates this past May. Dick Silk’s name is synonymous with all things waterfowl and especially DU. Dick was introduced to waterfowl hunting when he worked as Comptroller for Grempler Reality. He and Donald Grempler entertained clients and employees by taking them duck and goose hunting at Clagett’s Farm in Easton. Later, when Donald became involved in a computer start-up business, those duties (hard to describe as such) fell to Dick exclusively, until such time as he left Grempler Reality.
During those years, Dick became more of an Eastern Shoreman than many natives!! Dick’s wife, Isabella, (IS), went to school in Baltimore with a friend who later became the wife of Alex Fountain, an Easton-area real Estate executive. It was through this friendship, and Dick’s many years of making friends on the Eastern Shore, that Dick was introduced to Bill and Ginny Anderson, the owners of the 143- acre Anderton Farm in Oxford. Dick was granted the exclusive rights to hunt Anderton Farm through many years of friendship with Bill and Ginny and, later through their sons McKenny and William. That hunting legacy continues today, through 5 friends to whom Dick instilled the joys and responsibilities of waterfowl hunting and management, who now share the privilege of hunting Anderton Farm.
Dick and IS, along with a cadre of gathered friends attended a variety of DU dinners around Baltimore over many years. His Towson accounting office and home were filled with the prints of waterfowl and hunters gunning as well as racks of hand carved decoys many having a Jobes signature acquired at these dinners. Dick was an unending recruiter for DU both at work and home.
Dick’s formal involvement with DU spanned over 20 years. He was a committee member of the Maryland Pro Sports Chapter for 16 years serving as chairman for 2 years. He was Zone Chairman from 1991-1993 and Western Shore District Chairman the following 2 years. Dick and IS participated in the DU National Convention in Toronto, Canada in 1992 and they became Life Sponsors in 2005. Both Dick and IS joined the Feather Society in 2012 where they have made DU a benefactor in their estate.
Dick’s love of waterfowl didn’t just occupy DU as he was a judge at The Waterfowl Festival in Easton, MD from 1987-1992. Dick was also a proud veteran of the United States Air Force. Dick’s persona will be characterized by his wit, humor, use of acronyms, patriotism, and love of the waterfowler’s life and DU.
Personally, we will miss telephone calls on the evening of burning the first fire of the season, conversations of the anticipation of the opening day of goose season, and sitting with he and his family at Towson’s 4th of July Parade.
Dick was also storyteller and conveyed tales of hunts and adventures of days past which he told and retold (often we may add) with subtle changes and twists not expressed in the prior tellings. His audience, we must say, learned much from these stories as this is one of ways the traditions of hunting are passed, father to son, “old timer” to “boy”.
This year’s first fire of fall will impart a different meaning, the goose blind will seem a little empty in presence and voice, and the 4th of July parade will be more quiet and reflective. As we sit by the upcoming fires of fall and winter with single barrel in hand slightly chilled by 2 chips of ice, we will remember the past times and lessons imparted by Dick.
For all of those who knew him he will be surely missed.
Jay Shires and Steve Toole