Edwardsburg, MI– It was always the same. A big smile. A firm handshake and a pat on the back. And then, with a twinkle in his eye…”how you doing?” He fished across the country but more importantly, he made customers, friends for life, everywhere he traveled. It’s with great sadness that we share the news that fishing industry veteran John DeVries has died after a courageous battle with cancer.
John started his career in the fishing industry in 1986 as a sales rep for Banks Inc. He traveled the Midwest representing such influential brands as Mustad, Uncle Josh, and Foster Grant. He joined Mustad as Sales Manager in 1995 and subsequently served as General Manager and President of Mustad USA. Under his direction, the company ramped up innovation and aggressive marketing to build the brand and, ultimately, sales. While at the helm in the US, John oversaw Mustad’s transition from a manufacturing organization to a consumer-driven company.
In 2004, John joined Seaguar, then a fledgling young brand with a limited product line, little brand awareness and small market share. He helped create a dynamic grassroots marketing effort and build a credible pro staff to expand Seaguar’s market presence from its roots as saltwater leader material to a powerhouse freshwater mainline. John was a hands-on pioneer of fluorocarbon and the Seaguar brand in the industry – working side-by-side with his sales team on customer calls and at shows, handing out samples to anglers in new markets and explaining the Seaguar point-of-difference to industry media. He made every meeting fun and memorable. At Seaguar, John served as Sales Manager, Vice President of Sales and most recently as Seaguar Brand Ambassador.
John is survived by his wife Cheri, daughter Elizabeth, son Christopher, his parents, brother and numerous nieces and nephews, and a legion of friends from coast to coast. An open house celebrating John’s life will be at Tosi’s restaurant, 4337 Ridge Road, Stevensville, MI from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 18. Refreshments and light appetizers will be served, and a tribute to John will be shared at 6 p.m. All who knew and loved John are invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers, a fund has been set up to help support his family. For complete information, Visit https://www.gofundme.com/the-john-devries-family-fund