With Every Dip of My Paddle

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With Every Dip of My Paddle

by Greg Shute

Fly fishing for landlocked salmon at Chewonki’s Big Eddy Campground on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. Fly fishing for brook trout on a remote pond near Big Pleasant Lake in the Allagash Region. Paddling the St. John River when a late spring storm dropped a foot of snow on our group. Canoeing the St. Croix and the Allagash. These are just a few memories I’ve made with Gordon “Gordy” Hall, III, an avid outdoorsman, Chewonki’s longest-serving trustee, and my dear friend. I will deeply miss Gordy, who died on October 9, 2022, at age 92.

Gordy was a huge proponent of spending time unplugged in the natural world, and for him, there was no better place to do this than the woods and waters of Maine that influenced him as a teen. Gordy was always planning a new expedition, and he had a knack for pulling together interesting groups of people to join him. His inclusive and generous personality made everyone feel welcome, and his quick wit meant there were always lots of laughs. If you received an invite from Gordy, you cleared your schedule and went without questions, ready for a memorable experience.

Gordy often brought his family on these trips, paddling side-by-side and sharing his knowledge of Maine’s north woods. He took great pride in his grandchildren’s outdoor skills, especially their paddling and fly-fishing technique, and ensured they had their own Maine adventure stories to tell. 

I remember one splendid evening several years ago; I was camped out with Gordy and a small group of his friends at family at Little Ragmuff Stream on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. We’d finished dinner and had secured our canoes for the night. As the evening closed in, several of us watched Gordy’s grandson standing knee-deep in the river casting a fly with great patience. He finally hooked, landed, and carefully released a beautiful Landlocked Salmon. What we witnessed was so much more than the simple catching of a fish. Beneath the smooth and steady actions of the young man, we saw a connection to the Maine outdoors deepening through a special experience gifted with love from one generation to another. How wonderful that Gordy helped so many learn to appreciate and steward the natural world – both through his personal instruction and work with Chewonki and other nonprofits.

I will remember Gordy fondly with every dip of my paddle.

Greg Shute (front row, right) and Gordy Hall (second row, fourth from right) on a canoe expedition with Gordy's friends and family in Maine's North Woods.