Democrat File Photo
Dr. Alan Fried, at the podium, entertains an audience at a function held at King’s in Livingston Manor. Looking on at left is the late fly fishing pioneer Lee Wulff. At right is fly casting legend Joan Wulff, who still runs a fly casting school in Lew Beach.
A quiet man with a ‘loud’ impact
Story by Frank Rizzo
LIVINGSTON MANOR June 4, 2013 To quote Milton’s poem on Shakespeare, Dr. Alan Fried did not need “the labor of an age in piled stones” as a witness to his legacy.
But it stands nonetheless, on a no-kill stretch of the famed Willowemoc Creek the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum.
Eighteen years ago, at a ribbon cutting ceremony, “Doc” could look on with satisfaction as the museum on Old Route 17 opened its doors, fulfilling a dream he had nurtured with the late Roscoe fly tier Elsie Darbee.
The community doctor and man of many talents and interests had even raised the chickens with Elsie’s husband Harry to create the material for the legendary “Blue Dun” flies.
One of those who coveted the flies was Jim Krul, currently the museum’s director, who joined Doc on the museum board in 1999. “I finally got one, and Harry told me, ‘I think this one came from Dr. Fried. It’s fourteen dollars.’ That was a lot of money back then, on a teacher’s salary,” Krul noted.
Of Fried, Krul said, “He was always in the background, but always [involved] with everything going on [in the community].”
Fried, 87, who died last week after battling a rare blood cancer, lived long enough to see the completion of the Joan Wulff Gallery and Catskill Rodmakers Workshop addition to the museum.
The foundation was poured the last week of August 2012, and according to Krul, Doc would show almost daily to check on the progress.
“He’d be [at the site] by himself, watching, thinking, contemplating, visioning,” said Krul, who called Fried “a great inspiration to me and to anyone who has a craft here.”
Krul said Fried’s support of the museum came in different forms. For one, he rarely missed an event.
“He’d come in, and watch. He was a man of few words. If Doc showed up and stayed, it was a sign of approval,” Krul said.
For Krul, Fried’s legacy went beyond the physical museum.
“[His dream] was not just to have a museum, but a facility for the entire fly fishing community to meet… to have a place to educate Boy Scouts and youth groups,” Krul said.
Former Town of Rockland Supervisor Lee Siegel recalled the World War II Navy veteran who came to Livingston Manor and joined Dr. Lou Denman’s practice in 1956.
“I only have fond memories of Doc,” said Siegel. “He was a tremendous community person, a great help to many people and concerned about the environment.”
Fried served for decades as the physician at Livingston Manor CS, and was a great supporter of the Wildcats’ sports teams. He is honored with a plaque on the school’s Wall of Fame.
The museum plans a celebration of his life later this summer.