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I just found out a friend from many years back, Dennis Black, passed away last December from complications arrising from mesothelioma. I had emailed him to see how he was doing and his wife got back to me with the news.
I met Dennis and his brother Bill at their fly shop in Roseburg, 1973. It was only a few weeks later that it burnt to the ground.
Circumstances changed for me also and I needed a new place to live.
Another Dennis (Wolfe) had a big house in Camas Valley (OR). His wife left him, so he had many rooms to fill. We all moved in together.
I was working at the VA hospital in Roseburg as a painter. The Black brothers and the Wolfe's, Dennis and Jimmy, and my wife Raye were all tying flies in one of the bedrooms. Fur and feathers were all over. They were selling most of these to Orvis, and to smaller shops all over the country.
It was during this time Dennis decided to make a trip to Indonesia. And during this trip he found the answer to his dreams. Thousands of competent tyers that worked cheap. Women working in other industries that had high standards, worked swiftly and neatly and didn't need so many smoke breaks, etc. as the boys and girls back home.

Umpqua Feather Merchants was born.

Dennis found famous fly fishermen to lend their names and designs to the mix to make the patterns more desirable. He then went on to develop many other items that are used today. He changed fly fishing forever.

Dennis was a special guy and I wish I could be out fishing with him now that I am older.

Rest in peace brother.
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