Two exceptional Chautauqua County outdoors personalities passed away this year — one involved mainly with fishing activities, one with a life devoted to hunting and shooting sports.
Anyone who launched a boat at Barcelona Harbor or even walked around the harbor breakwaters and chatted with the harbormaster always left that access site along Lake Erie’s beautiful shoreline not only with a warm feeling about the sights, but also an insight or two about the nice things and good people at Barcelona Harbor.
For the last decade, Jock Jeffery Phillips, 63, has served as Harbormaster at Barcelona. Along with organizing parking and launching procedure, he provided a personable presence that made all who dropped by to visit feel like outdoors family.
Jock lost his battle with cancer on Nov. 27; his spirited good nature and love for the lake and its people were shared during a “Celebration of Life” gathering held at Westfield Firemen’s Exempt Hall Saturday afternoon.
Phillips, born in Buffalo and formerly of Marilla, served as a Corrections Officer for 25 years at Attica, Wende and the Lakeview Facility, but he was best known in angler and boater circles as the good, helpful guy from Westfield who worked at Barcelona Harbor.
He helped Southtowns Walleye Association coordinators, and any other sporting group setting up competitions and outings, to get their programs going smoothly and enjoyably.
As a fishing updater, I connected with Phillips more by phone than first-hand visits to check out the fishing out of Barcelona. His reports were always accurate — whether the bite was off or exceptional. No matter how busy the launch site traffic might be, Phillips willingly shared details on where the fish were biting, what the regulars had caught (and not caught), how the weather and water looked that day and even the latest tale about the big one that got away — usually during a tourney.
Casual visitors not geared for fishing would hear interesting bits about the famous Barcelona lighthouse, noteworthy wineries and other tourism treks.
He shunned formal presentations and asked that his loving family and wide circle of friends minimize memorials and pay tribute to him with contributions to Hunt of A Lifetime, Box 241, Harborcreek, Pa., 16421 and/or the RO Foundation, 212 Lake Shore Dr., W. Dunkirk, NY 14048 (rofoundation.com).
Earlier this year (July 17), Charles “Chuck”; Larson passed away. To all his friends and family he shared the outdoors as though it were home. When not on hunting or shooting ventures, Larson grew his gardens and cranked his own wine versions from grapes and berries grown locally.
He was an active member of Ducks Unlimited, contributed to the County Federation along with active membership in the Falconer Rod & Gun Club, Big Tree Rod & Gun Club, Dunkirk Fourth Ward Falcons Club and the Northern Chautauqua County Conservation Club.
Both Phillips and Larson contributed much to further the enjoyment all felt about the richness of the Lake Erie shoreline open to all outdoors folks at all levels of involvement. Both will be missed and remembered.