TRAVERSE CITY — Dave Richey, a contributing writer for the Record-Eagle and longtime hunting and fishing writer for the Detroit News, loved everything about the outdoors.
”That was his religion,” said his wife, Kay Richey. “That was his time with God.”
Dave Richey, a Grand Traverse County resident, died June 20 at age 73 following a hemorrhage and stroke.
Dave Richey covered hunting and fishing for more than 23 years as a staff writer and photographer for the Detroit News. He wrote an award-winning series that exposed the illegal practice of poaching for profit during his tenure with the Detroit newspaper. He retired from the News in 2003 but continued to work as a freelance writer.
He wrote 22 books on fishing and hunting, and thousands of columns and articles for publications like Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and Sports Afield.
Dave Richey’s writing career started in 1967, the same year he began working as a fishing guide with his late twin brother George on Lake Michigan tributaries.
His lifelong love of outdoor sports started during his childhood, Kay Richey said. Dave Richey suffered from severe asthma as a youth. The respiratory problem limited his participation in many sports, so he turned to fishing.
Dave Richey joined the Outdoor Writers Association of America in 1968. The organization honored him with numerous awards, including an Excellence in Craft Award and the Jade of Chiefs Award in 2012, the highest conservation award given to outdoor writers.
Dave Leonhard, owner of Traverse City’s Streamside Orvis fly fishing shop, said he admired Dave Richey’s work and read his columns for ideas about where to hunt and fish in Michigan.
“Anyone who read his columns engaged the outdoors more fully because they read his columns,” Leonhard said.
Bob Summers, of Traverse City, hunted deer with Dave Richey on occasion. The two also shared a love of outdoor books. Summers said Dave Richey, unlike some outdoors writers, truly lived the life he documented in his work.
“Dave really did get out and do it,” Summers said.
Dave Richey is survived by Kay and his children Kimberley Richey, Stacey Richey, David Richey and Guy Richey.
His ashes will be spread on the Sturgeon River.
“That is where he and his brother caught their first steelhead,” Kay Richey said.
Dave Richey wrote on his website he never promised “fast fishing or full bag limits” in his columns and articles.
“Frankly, I get skunked at times just like you do,” he wrote. “However, even on those days when fish don’t bite, deer do not move and pheasants don’t fly, there is a beauty in the outdoors to be savored and that is an important commodity to me.”