Gary Stoychoff: Jan 22, 1946 – Dec 26, 2023

Trout Unlimited lost someone very special. The impact Gary Stoychoff left on our coldwater resources will be felt for a long, long time.

Gary was one our chapter founding members and a TU life-member. He was recognized by GBTU with the President’s Club Award in 1988 (for outstanding work project attendance). Gary and his late wife Jan (also a TU life-member) were presented our chapter’s Silver Trout Award (a distinguished service honor) in 2013. He and Jan put together our newsletter for many, many years and were instrumental in the starting and volunteer for our annual fundraising banquet. Gary stood with our coldwater resources through our chapter, and eventually WI State TU, for decades.

At last year’s WI TU State Council Banquet/Awards Dinner Gary received the WI State TU Lifetime Achievement Award. He is only the third person to ever receive this recognition.

Below is a write-up, from WI State TU, regarding his lifetime achievement recognition:

Trout Unlimited
Lifetime Achievement Award

Gary Stoychoff

There are many wonderful Trout Unlimited members who have done incredible things for trout while serving in various leadership positions. But, if someone were to sit down and compile a list of all of those members who have served in elected leadership positions for 50 consecutive years, they’d have a very short list. But Gary Stoychoff would be on it.

A few years after the Green Bay Chapter was formed in 1969, its original treasurer became ill, and the chapter asked Gary to help out. He vividly remembers answering that he would take the position for one month to help the chapter. Well, 50 have since passed, and he’s about to complete his career as a treasurer for Trout Unlimited.

During those early years in Green Bay, Gary was far more than a treasurer. The chapter struggled in the early years with a hat being passed to pay for newsletters, trout boils conducted around the state to make a few dollars, and eventually beginning an annual banquet that went from breaking even the first year to becoming one of the most successful banquets in the country.

There were also a number of conservation battles and habitat projects. Gary was an important part of just about everything in those early years. A now retired fish manager once commented that Gary was one of the only members who could get rocks placed by hand correctly on an instream structure. Work in northeastern Wisconsin was primarily done by hand in the early years and Gary was one of those members who loved throwing rocks, or standing slightly over wader height anchoring half logs to the stream bottom.

Gary got his start in Green Bay in 1973 and continued in that role until 2013. In 2008 he was asked if he would be interested in becoming the State Council treasurer, and he again agreed to serve, this time without the one-month stipulation. Gary has served as the Council treasurer during the terms of six Council chairs. As a past president for the Green Bay Chapter and a former State Council Chair, I was most appreciative for the good work and support from Gary.

Gary will tell you that one of his fondest memories from all those years dedicated to Trout Unlimited are all of the people that he worked with, fished with, played with and most importantly, accomplished a great deal of good work for trout.

Thanks, Gary! All of us who have had the pleasure to work with you have seen your good work many times. Few people have shown the dedication to Trout Unlimited that you have. This is only the third time the Council has bestowed The Lifetime Achievement Award, and you are a most deserving recipient.

On a personal note…I tell my kids throughout your life there are people who will challenge you. Some are simply toxic and can bring you down. Ignore them. Others will tell you what you need to hear, and help you grow as a person. Don’t be offended. Listen to them. In my early years as a 30-something year old Green Bay Trout Unlimited Chapter President (more than 10 years ago) Gary pulled me aside, regularly, to tell me what I may not have wanted to hear, but needed to hear. Several years ago, at one of our Awards Dinners/Holiday Parties, he pulled me aside once again. This time Gary told me something that I will carry for the rest of my life. While he had always had my respect. That was the moment I knew I had officially “earned” his respect. He has told me the same thing, more or less, multiple times since. While these conversations are between him and I, just keep that message in mind that there are people out there that will challenge you in a way that will bring out your best.

Thank you, and we will miss you, Gary


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