Our friend, fellow atlatlist and atlatl maker Brandon Anderson passed away Wednesday evening, July 30, at his home in Waverly, NY. Brandon has been involved with the atlatl world for many years. Over the years, he has helped the Thunderbird Atlatl shop greatly with his best friend John Jefferson.
Many of us know Brandon as “Groovy”, a word he used often and a name he called himself. “Groovy” Anderson loved to make atlatls and enjoyed atlatl competitions with his many friends on the atlatl circuit. He introduced the atlatl to many people and on his wedding day, atlatls were part of the ceremony.
The atlatl world and Brandon’s many friends will miss him. We are all more fortunate for having him in our lives these many years.
We are sad to report that our dear atlatl friend and supporter John Morris passed away this past Friday, January 24.
John of Grand Isle, Vermont, fell in love with the atlatl on a visit to the annual atlatl event at Chimney Point Historic Site in Addison, Vermont several years ago. John, a man of many interests, immediately started practicing with the atlatl at his beautiful homestead on Grand Isle. He and his late wife, Bette, often would show and demonstrate the atlatl to local school groups, scouts and many others.
John participated in many atlatl contests and devoted many hours sharing his love for the sport with countless people. John was instrumental in extending the atlatl program at Chimney Point by adding a Sunday master class/coaching class for young people and anyone interested in learning about the atlatl.
When ill health over the last couple of years prevented him from competing, John still made the effort to come to the Chimney Point program and support his fellow atlatlists. We all were fortunate to know both John and his amazing kindness and generosity. John and Bette were both members of the Secret Ear of Corn Oooga Booga Society
Wendel Adams, my good friend who passed away several years ago was a fellow atlatlist who helped in the Great Atlatl Hunting Experiment where we relearned how to use atlatls for hunting big game. Wendel was from Kentucky. He was an amazing machinist and an avid outdoorsman.
The art of atlatl hunting had been lost and after about a decade of experimentation we figured out how to do it again. We also shared atlatl fishing trips in Florida and Kentucky.
Wendel helped me build my first dart tapering machine when he and his wife Bobbi came to visit us in New York. I think it was 2001 or 2002. Not to forget, the many times Bobbi and Wendel helped make my life and my family’s life much more comfortable on the road through their gracious hospitality.
I also remember the late Lou Becker, an atlatlist and boyer from Michigan who was an inspiration for me also in the effort to discover how the atlatl may have been used for hunting. I met Lou in the early 1990s when he was experimenting and making atlatls. Lou was a kind and gentle friend who shared his enthusiasm for hunting and learning with me. Along with his many other responsibilities, Lou served as President of the Michigan Atlatl Association.
We did not expect we would be posting so soon after Cheryll’s Dad’s death that her Mother, Helen, had also passed away. On Thursday, June 30, Cheryll’s Mom, Helen, left this life to join her husband, Anthony. Following Anthony’s funeral in June, Cheryll’s Mom, Helen, came home from the hospital to the local hospice program. She was able to be home surrounded by her family and favorite canine companions, Jack and Jill.
We celebrate Helen’s life and are blessed that they both were able to spend their final years with us in our home. We are missing them but know they are at peace and together.
For our atlatlist and flintknapper friends, Cheryll’s Mom, as was her Dad, was a member of the Secret Ear of Corn Ooga Booga Society! Oooga Booga! Anthony and Helen learned the Oooga Booga secret at The Atlatl Rattle at Green Flats, Casa De Fumo, Hancock, New York (Ray Turner’s) several years ago.
Helen’s obituary can be viewed here A memorial service for Helen will be held later this month at the Hancock Baptist Church in Hancock, NY.
It’s with sadness and also the joy of celebrating his life that we say good bye to Cheryll’s Dad, Anthony Connolly. Anthony passed away Saturday, May 14, at our home in Candor, New York. Cheryll’s parents have lived in our home for nearly seven years. They moved here from the Catskills in Hancock, NY after living on their own became too difficult despite the support of many wonderful neighbors.
We are blessed that Thunderbird Atlatl operates out of a shop in our home, making it possible for us to provide eldercare for our parents here. Obviously, this has not been without its challenges and frustrations over the years; but there have been moments of humor, love and joy. Cheryll’s Dad was a determined soul who could drive us crazy all the while we were proud of that same determination in the face of Parkinson’s Disease.
He was an amazingly creative person who has left us a legacy of memories in his writings, wood carvings, photography, paintings and many collections of cameras, rifles, car parts and other assorted interests. We thank all of your for your thoughts and condolences over the past few days. For our atlatlist and flintknapper friends, Cheryll’s Dad was a member of the Secret Ear of Corn Ooga Booga Society! Oooga Booga! Anthony and Cheryll’s Mom, Helen, learned the Oooga Booga secret at The Atlatl Rattle at Green Flats, Casa De Fumo, Hancock, New York (Ray Turner’s) several years ago.
Anthony’s obituary can be viewed here A memorial service for Anthony will be held June 4 at noon at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Hancock, NY.