Slatington man remembered at trout hatchery
Fishermen’s stories and fond memories were shared recently at the Springside Trout Hatchery in Slatington as members of the community, friends and family of the late Robert G. Herzog Sr. dedicated a bench in his honor.
The bench is the result of multiple donations made in Herzog’s memory following his death in September 2016, after a battle with lung cancer.
His family asked those wanting to honor Herzog and his contributions to the community to donate to the Springside Sportsmen Club Inc., a group to which Herzog was a member.
Herzog was also a member of the Slatington Skeet Club and the Heidelberg Fish and Game Association.
The dedication ceremony began as the crowd gathered around the pool of fish at the hatchery.
Herzog’s children Robert Jr., Todd, Tami and Brent were all present to join in the dedication.
Lorne Palansky, president of the Springside Sportsmen Club, gave introductory remarks and told those in attendance about Herzog’s volunteer work with the hatchery throughout his life.
“He will always watch over this hatchery,” Palansky said.
Herzog’s son Todd then spoke on behalf of the family, telling a story about his father’s discipline in fishing, his high standards for the sport, and his love of sharing the sport with his family.
Todd Herzog said he spent hours trying to tie flies to his father’s approval but was always met with constructive critique.
Herzog said he thought the flies were awful. He said he never really caught many fish on the flies, but then again his dad never told him that there was a Fisherman’s Prayer.
Years later, he said, he joined his father for a day on the river.
Herzog said his father produced a box filled with the same “awful” flies.
“It teaches you how to be patient, how to be a man, and how to stand on your own two feet,” he said. “We were a mile apart but I was never closer to my Dad than when we were fishing.”
The Rev. Kris Snyder-Samuelson, pastor at Union United Church of Christ, Neffs, then led the crowd in prayer and a solemn verse of “Amazing Grace” before family friend Marc Grammes spoke about the impact Herzog’s work with the hatchery meant for future anglers.
Grammes then called up Herzog’s grandson, Teague, and presented him with a hand-painted necktie with a rainbow trout pictured on the front.
Grammes got the tie in Harrisburg when he was a Lehigh County commissioner working on Leaser Lake in Lynn Township.
He said he, too, lost his grandfather when he was the same age as Teague, and he dedicated his efforts in the restoration of the lake to his grandfather.
He told Teague it was his hope that when he sees that necktie years down the road he will think of the work he and his grandfather did on the hatchery together, and how the community came out to honor the two of them. He told Teague that he will never be alone whenever he goes trout fishing, and that his grandfather will always be with him.
Brent Herzog, Robert Herzog’s youngest son, later commented.
“Fishing was a part of his life,” Brent said. “He was always about fishing. It was a big part of him. I think he’d say get involved, fishing is a great outdoor sport and family event. I think he wanted to see kids get involved more and more. It seems like some of those outdoor sports are going by the wayside. Getting involved in something like this would be great.”
The ceremony concluded with Herzog’s widow, Janice, and grandson, Teague, taking a seat on the bench and greeting everyone attending the ceremony.