By Don Fine
Club member Ray Gano of Martinsburg, West Virginia, passed away June 17, 2020, from cancer. Because he lived a distance from Frederick, perhaps some of our club members never had the opportunity to meet Ray — yet those who regularly attend our picnics, banquets, and fly tying sessions would easily recognize him. Ruby and I consider ourselves blessed to have known Ray and his wife Sylvia, whom we met over 20 years ago in association with Creekside Anglers and Antietam Fly Anglers, two other fly fishing clubs to which Ray was an active member.
Generous beyond belief, Ray Gano freely shared his expertise at the fly tying vise, and sharing with others numerous new fly patterns which he had developed. One of his favorite expressions was ‘try this fly, it will knock the snot out of the fish.’ Ray loved to teach fly tying and generously shared his time and tying talents with others. He especially enjoyed helping youngsters learn to tie, and generously gave copious amounts of tying materials to young fly tiers, several who are members of our club. Each year at banquet time, Ray would bring along a box of his hand tied flies, along with a specialty fly mounted in a shadow box which he had hand-crafted.
Beyond the ‘vise’ Ray Gano was a highly skilled and innovative rod builder. Many of the rods which he built were donated to charitable organizations. Ray’s expertise in fly rod building extended into restoring old classic bamboo rods (“sticks,” as he would say) into first-class functional fishing rods. Beyond his participation in local fly clubs, Ray was active in Reel Recovery, a national non-profit organization that conducts free fly fishing retreats for persons living with all forms of cancer.
Ray Gano will be deeply missed and never forgotten by his countless friends and fly fishing colleagues. I will miss his humor, his smile, and the generosity of his time and talents. Ray is survived by his devoted wife, Sylvia; daughters, Sarah and Amanda; step-son, Mark; two grandsons, Aiden and Riese; sister, Norma and brother, Richard.
View Ray’s obituary and tribute wall online.