‘Lefty’ Bernard Kreh

February 26, 1926 - March 14, 2018
In younger days, Lefty (left) and Dennis.
     Lefty Kreh was the consummate angler, having dedicated most of his life to salt- and freshwater fly fishing and to promoting his and all aspects of the sport. In the process, he became Maryland’s and America’s international fly-fishing personality. 
      A guide, instructor and mentor to American presidents, congressmen, foreign dignitaries, industry CEOs, actors, authors and just about anyone who was anyone, Kreh also took as much time to assist neighbors, school kids and anyone interested in his sport. He never lost his humility nor his interest in people.
      Born in 1925 in Frederick, Maryland, Lefty lost his father at age eight. He and his three siblings were raised by their mother, Helen, under modest circumstance. Lefty haunted the woods and streams of central Maryland until joining the Army as an artilleryman in World War II and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.
      Home from Europe, he went to work for the federal government at the Bioweapons Laboratory at Ft. Detrick, where he continued to work (while not fishing) into his 60s. While there he survived an anthrax infection and had a strain, BVK-1, named after him. That was his first brush with fame.
      Resuming his fishing career, Lefty garnered the notice of Joe Brooks, the outdoor sportswriter for the Baltimore Sun as well as the man who was well on his way to becoming America’s first famous fly-fishing personality. Fascinated by Joe and his fly-rod techniques, Lefty became Brooks’ protégé and eventually also the Sun’s outdoor writer. (At the same time in that golden age of journalism, Bill Burton was the Evening Sun’s man outdoors.)
      Lefty was a pragmatic and intuitive personality. With a high school education, he became an author, writing more than 30 books and countless magazine articles. He was also a noted outdoor photographer, fly-casting instructor and fly tie-er. His Lefty’s Deceiver was celebrated on a U.S. postage stamp in 1991. 
       Though born left-handed, he customarily fly-cast with his right hand because, he said, it made it easier to teach right-handers. He also became quite the entertainer, regaling his fly-fishing classes with personal anecdotes such as painting his boat different colors on each side and carrying a change of shirts on all of his outings so that he could sell fishing pictures multiple times.
       Though he traveled the world many times over in his fishing endeavors, he lived for the longest and last part of his life in Fort Hunt, Maryland, with his wife Evelyn until she died in November of 2011.
      Lefty Kreh died Wednesday, March 14, at 93 of congestive heart failure. He is survived by two children, Victoria and Larry, and nine grand and great-grandchildren.

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