Remembering Gary Clancy
By now, much has been written about Gary Clancy, the long-time outdoor writer and Outdoor News columnist who died July 27th at the far-too-young age of 68.
I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been written or said, but like everyone else, it just feels right to pen a short tribute to the man.
I’m not aware of any writers who connected more with readers than did Gary. I can’t count the number of times I spoke with readers who’d never met Gary, but who felt like they’d known him all their lives. He was a heckuva good writer and an even better storyteller. But he could write in a way that made readers feel like they were sitting in his den and listening to him talk.
His writing was gritty and real and though he was an extraordinarily accomplished multi-species hunter and angler, there was never a shred of ego or pretentiousness. Gary was real through and through, and while his stories were often about successes afield, you never got the feeling he was talking about some method or technique that the average guy couldn’t also master. He came across as an everyman because that’s exactly what he was. He didn’t try to be anything he wasn’t, and his comfort in his own skin, I think, endeared him to readers.
The last thing I’d say is that he cared about his readers. I was editing his work in my final months on staff at Outdoor News (I haven’t been there full-time since April), during which time some of the health issues Gary long has dealt with reared their head again. There were times when he simply couldn’t write, and he always felt so bad about that. It took me a while to realize how strongly people felt about Gary and his writing, but I can assure you, he felt just as strongly about the people who read his stories each week.