Dave Rossberg with his best brown to date. The buck went 8 LB. and was released after the photo.
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Foundry Church in Bend, Or., where Jan and I attend, had asked me to call on Dave as part of our visitation ministry several years ago. He had to move to Bend from Crane because of his medical issues and dialysis. Dave was quite a bit younger than I but we hit it off really well as he loved fishing and cars....both close to my heart as well.
Dave was dealt a tough hand. He was involved in a serious accident several years back and then his diabetes had progressed to a serious level and he needed dialysis every other day for 4-5 hours. I would try to visit Dave several times a month. Our church bought him a large print Bible and we spent time reading and discussing the scriptures. He desired a closer relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ and I was trying to be an encouragement to him in his walk of faith.
He eventually purchased an older van adapted for a wheelchair which enabled him to get around town. On occasions, I would drive him around town to do some shopping or to just get out of the house. Two other men from our church, Stan Schliep and Bob Powell, would share some of the responsibilities for whatever was needed during the week.
Because of circulation issues related to the diabetes, Dave had problems with healing properly, as many with this condition do. Back in 2011, one of his feet developed gangrene and it was only a matter of time before he faced an amputation of that leg below the knee. In spite of it all, Dave remained optimistic about his future. He had hoped to be able to drive his big Dodge diesel again someday.
After Jan and I returned from our first winter away in California, Dave asked me if I would baptize him. I was honored and humbled by his request. His baptism, as defined by the Bible, was an outward expression of his inner faith in Christ as his Lord and Savior and is usually proclaimed publically. It was the first and probably the last time I will be baptizing someone.
That summer in July, we cooked up a plan to get him out on a fishing trip to East Lake. It would have its challenges and we enlisted his dear Friend, Paul Hathaway, to assist us in getting Dave into the boat with his wheelchair. We were able to pull it off and had a great morning with a lot of brown trout caught and released. The highlight of the trip was Paul hooking up to a big hookjaw brown in excess of 10 LB. Unfortunately, the hooks pulled out right before we tried to net him and we watched him turn and swim back into the depths. For more details and photos you can check out the report here: http://trophytroutguide.com/news/07_21_11.htm.
This past winter of 2012 was round two of our snow birding adventures in Central California and we stayed a little later into early April. During our absence, Dave had more circulation and healing problems with his other leg. He had to have it amputated above his knee during that winter.
After we got home, Dave and I started working on another fishing trip but wanted to wait until the weather was warmer. With lots of commitments for both Paul and I during the summer, we finally got our schedules to work for a date in mid-Sept. to fish Wickiup. It was much more difficult to get Dave in the boat this time and I had wrenched my back on the Fri. before we went out on Sun., so I was little help. Paul was able to lift Dave and we got him on the gunnel dockside and then into his wheelchair.
I has hoping and praying I could put Dave onto a decent brown trout and I realized prior to the trip, this would, more than likely, be his last trip out in the boat. After only about 20 minutes on the water, I hooked up on a nice brown. I handed the rod off to Dave and told him to hang on. He did a great job and I netted it for him after a few minutes. It weighed 8 LB. and we got some good photos before releasing him. It truly made the trip. After a couple of other browns, he grew a bit tired and we decided to head in. After Lunch at Gordy’s, we went our ways. To read more about that day check out the report here: http://trophytroutguide.com/news/09_18_12.html
The last time I saw Dave was at his house in Redmond this past fall. His Mom and Dad were there and Jan had joined me that day....we had a great visit! We talked for the last time while we were down in California and little did I know he would be gone in a couple of weeks. When Jan and I got home we faced the usual pile of mail and tons of phone messages. While Jan was working her way through the phone messages, I was going through some emails. Ironically, as I was reading an email from Bob about Dave's passing, Jan was simultaneously listening to his daughter, Angelia, leaving us the same message.
Dave Rossberg finished the race on Jan. 2, 2013. After being hospitalized earlier that day, his heart finally gave out early the next morning. He had fought the good fight of faith and, as promised by God, was in the presence of his Lord. I will never forget him and rejoice that we shall see each other again in Heaven. See you soon my friend!