Thomas Keir Schmuecker 1933-2023

Fly tying, and fly fishing, has lost an icon with the passing of long-time Wapsi Fly Co. owner Tom Schmuecker.

Tom, passed away Tuesday night, less than 3 weeks after his wife Ann, leaving a giant hole in the family, Wapsi Fly and the wider world of fly tying. Tom and Ann built Wapsi into the largest fly tying materials company in the world and was the creative mind behind a host of influential products including dumbell eyes, without which there would be no Clouser Minnow.

Our condolences go out to the family, friends and all at Wapsi.

Thomas Keir Schmuecker, 89, passed away on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Tom was born on August 28, 1933, in Blairstown, Iowa, to Ervin and Hazel Keir Schmuecker. He graduated from high school and went on to earn a business degree from the University of Iowa in 1961. He married Shirley Light in 1959 in Iowa and ran the Pinehurst Farms with his brother and father through the 1960’s. In 1973, Tom and Ann bought Wapsi Fly and moved to Independence, Iowa, from the farm in Amana, Iowa. They moved the company and the family to Arkansas in 1978, where Wapsi Fly’s success has continued. He became actively involved in the community, where he loved serving on the board of Baxter Regional Medical Center from 1986 until he retired in 2016. He was also a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Mountain Home Rotary Club. Tom served on the American Flyfishing Tackle Manufactures Association Board. He was a recipient of many awards from the Federation of Fly Fishers, including the Lee Wolf Award for Outstanding Fly Fishing Business in 1995. The South Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers awarded Tom with the Fly Tyer of the Year Award.

Tom is survived by four sons, Karl Schmuecker, Joe Schmuecker, John Schmuecker, and Eric Schmuecker; five grandchildren, Emily, E.J., Claire, Zak, and Isabelle; great-grandson, Sebastian; brother, Jim Schmuecker; and sister, Kathryn Dochterman.

He is preceded in death by parents; and wife, Shirley Ann Schmuecker.

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