On behalf of the American Sportfishing Association’s members and staff, we extend our sincere condolences to Gary’s wife, Ruth, and the entire Zurn family on Gary’s untimely passing on Friday, August 27, at his home in Morehead City, N.C.
Gary was a partner and Senior Vice President of Big Rock Sports for nearly 30 years. During that period, he gave freely of his time and talent to help ensure that anglers all across the United States had access to well-managed fisheries, both freshwater and saltwater.
He was elected to six, two-year terms on ASA’s board of directors starting in October 2003 and then again in October 2010. During his first term on the board, he had a seat on the Executive Committee as Secretary and then Treasurer. Gary was also very active in the government affairs arena serving as the Government Affairs committee chairman until his passing, as well as the former Chair of the Saltwater Subcommittee. During his first term on the board, he also served as the Membership committee chairman with a focus on encouraging retailers to join the association.
In 2014, Gary was presented with ASA’s Future of Fishing award during the association’s annual business meeting, the Sportfishing Summit. The award recognized him for his commitment to the sportfishing industry and his leadership in ensuring recreational fishing’s future.
“Gary was patient and kind and forever the professional with matters regarding the industry and the association,” said ASA President Glenn Hughes. “He was a terrific sounding board and was always willing to provide thoughtful input whenever asked. The fishing industry has lost one of the good ones.”
“Gary was always a stalwart for ASA and our Government Affairs program,” said Mike Leonard, Government Affairs vice president. “Whether testifying before Congress, being an early and strong supporter of Keep America Fishing or navigating numerous challenging Government Affairs committee discussions as chair, Gary was as dependable as they come. He made a significant and lasting mark on the industry and will be truly missed.”
Former ASA President and CEO, Mike Nussman, remembers Gary for his wise counsel and commitment to the industry and to ASA. “No matter the issue, Gary was always willing to listen and lend a helping hand,” said Nussman. “Over the course of my career, I can count on one hand the number of people whose business insights really resonated with me. Gary was one of those people.”
Funeral arrangements are being arranged by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, N.C. A celebration of life service will be held at a later date.