RIP Fox Statler

ON NEW YEAR’s Day we lost one of the true characters of the river, Fox Statler, fly fishing guide, rod maker, fly tyer, teacher of many things and a true iconoclast.

It’s with sadness we belatedly mark his passing. I should have noticed the silence.

We always knew when Fox was about, loud passionate full of life. He was full of ideas, redesigning fly rods, or boats, always something well thought through but not mainstream. His fly patterns will not be forgotten (you can find some recipes here and on the Fly Anglers Online archives).

Fox, a math teacher by profession, love sharing ideas and teaching knowledge. His YouTube video on cleaning squirrels went viral. There is a lot to learn about Fox in that FAOL article too.

You can read his full obituary here. But the words from daughter Meredith commenting that Fox didn’t want ceremony and fanfare, struck me

If you want to honor him, you can head to the river and catch a fish, tie a fly, hunt a deer, throw your dog a ball, shoot a bow, or belly laugh about anything.  Whatever you choose, do it with the intention of the sheer enjoyment, immersing yourself in the experience and share your knowledge with someone you love.  This would make him smile, shudder with joy and bring a tear to his eye.

The world has lost a truly good man who bubbled over with excitement for life and love of learning.  We will miss him everyday.

Yes you will be missed Fox.

Copy of the full obituary from Barker Funeral Home

William Fox Statler, 73, of Salem, Arkansas passed from this life on Friday, January 1, 2021 in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Fox was born December 31, 1947 to Samuel R. Statler and Betty (Vaughn) Statler in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.

Fox married Linda Meredith on August 30, 1970 and they had four children. Fox later married Joan Kelley on May 1, 2000 in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Fox spent his working years as a teacher and upon retirement enjoyed his true passion, hunting and fishing. He served his country in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. Fox grew up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana but returned to Arkansas where he spent summers with his grandparents and cousins so he could hunt and fish. He was a loving son, husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

Fox leaves to mourn his passing, wife, Joan Statler of Salem, Arkansas; two daughters, Meridith Vaughan (Mark Glavin) of Waterbury, Vermont and Kammi Nazarenko (Jason) of Cotter, Arkansas; step daughter, Jamie Rydl (Andy Clifford) of Fayetteville, Arkansas; son, Dustin Statler of Los Angeles, California; two step sons, Jeremy Rydl (Julie) of Boone, Iowa and Shaun Rydl (Natalie) of Indianola, Iowa; six grandchildren, Samantha Nazarenko, Charlie Nazarekko, Trevin Sperry, Drew Clifford, Jordan Rydl, and Jaden Rydl; many other relatives and friends. He is preceded in death by both his son (Rustin Statler) and parents.

No services are scheduled at this time. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Arkansas Game and Fish or Meals on Wheels. Arrangements are under the direction of Barker Funeral Home in Salem, Arkansas. 

A note from Meridith:

Dear Family and Friends,

It is with great sadness and a very, heavy heart, we must tell you we lost our dear father, William “Fox” Statler, on January 1st, after a long hospitalization due to complications from a by-pass surgery and Covid-19, which he contracted while hospitalized.

If you knew him well, you know he had very, strong beliefs in his life, and it did not stop there because he carried these convictions over to his death.  His specific wishes were for no services of any kind or fanfare.  He requested he be cremated and his ashes be spread in some of his favorite spots including in the rivers and over his father’s grave.

If you want to honor him, you can head to the river and catch a fish, tie a fly, hunt a deer, throw your dog a ball, shoot a bow, or belly laugh about anything.  Whatever you choose, do it with the intention of the sheer enjoyment, immersing yourself in the experience and share your knowledge with someone you love.  This would make him smile, shudder with joy and bring a tear to his eye.

The world has lost a truly good man who bubbled over with excitement for life and love of learning.  We will miss him everyday.

Hug your loved ones close and may you and your family be safe during these uncertain times.