Remembering Tom Fegely

Tom Fegely died on Dec. 17, 2013, at his home in Whitehall, Pa. Tom's impact on the outdoor industry will long survive him. The POMA family has lost a legend and friend. POMA media member Jon Pries remembers Tom.

Remembering Tom Fegely

by Jon Pries

Tom Fegely was a premier outdoor writer, communicator and photographer.  While he has written several books throughout his career, he may be best remembered by many Pennsylvania hunters and fishermen for his role as host on the Call of the Outdoors television show on WGAL-TV, reaching Pennsylvania's Susquehanna Valley, from 1979 to 1986.

His career in the out-of-doors spanned more than 30 years, 25 of which, Tom was the outdoor editor at The (Allentown) Morning Call, newspaper. He was a field editor for Outdoor Life and on the masthead of North American Hunter, Pennsylvania Sportsman, Buckmasters and Whitetail News.  His articles regularly appeared in Turkey Call and other outdoor publications.

Tom was inducted into the Pennsylvania Turkey Hunter’s Hall of Fame in 1991. His focus was frequently on young people, mentoring many whenever possible and writing 10 youth books on nature and hunting.  Four of the children’s books received national awards by the National Science Teachers Association. On his television show, Fegely included youth-oriented programming on a regular basis. In 1984, he received the “Distinguished Service Award” from Lock Haven University for his public-service work in promoting the outdoors to young people. In 2008, his work with youths led to his receiving the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show’s “Outdoor Youth Mentor Award.”

It was in 2007 that Tom began showing symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), a neurological disease that affects 1.3 million people in the United States.  LBD robs short-term memory and the ability to define spatial relationships. In addition, Tom’s LBD included Parkinson’s-like syndromes, causing unwanted tremors and speech issues.  He wrote his last magazine article in 2010. Tom slipped away from us at his home on Tuesday evening, December 17, 2013.

Tom and Betty Lou, his wife, constant companion and fellow outdoor writer, hunted 32 U. S. states, four Canadian provinces, and internationally in Africa and Bulgaria. Tom has been aptly described as “having a twinkle in his eye and a wry, Bob Hope-like sense of humor.” Always the gentleman, with constant concern about the interests of others, he will be remembered by many for his encouragement of youths and his mentoring of budding new writers and communicators in the outdoors.

If you close your eyes and let your mind wonder, it is easy to picture Tom as he is slipping into the woods, a turkey call in one hand and an eager young hunter in the other – getting ready for the first morning’s gobble of an old boss gobbler. Good hunting, my friend…………

Celebration of Life Service

Services: Sunday, January 5, 2014, at the Bachman, Kulik & Reinsmith Funeral Home, 1629 Hamilton St, Allentown, PA 18102. Calling hours 1:00 to 2:30, followed by A Celebration of Life Service at 2:30.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association 912 Killian Hill Road, S.W. Lilburn, GA 30047 or online at: http://www.lbda.org or Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) Foundation, P.O. Box 1569, Johnstown, PA 15907 (POMA) or online at: http://professionaloutdoormedia.org/node/762