COLUMBIA – For all Clifford Teel knew, the lake was bottomless, and the carp on the other end of his brother's bow-fishing line was headed straight down, pulling the boat with it.
With their ten-foot aluminum jon boat standing on end, his brother Jay was able to cut the line, and the two survived to fish another day.
"We laughed about it," Mr. Teel's wife, Rosemary, said.
He missed out on a big fish that day, but Mr. Teel had plenty of success as a lifelong hunter and fisherman. The 20-pound catfish he pulled from Rosemary's parents' pond in Iowa was his finest catch.
"That was his pride and joy," Rosemary Teel said.
Clifford Dwight Teel of Columbia died Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. He was 73.
He was born Oct. 11, 1940, in Winterset, Iowa, to Clifford Leroy and Velma Bush Teel.
"He was stocking groceries and I flirted with him," Rosemary said of the first time she met Mr. Teel. "He flirted back, of course."
A week later, they had their first date. They were married for 51 years, and celebrated their 50th anniversary last year at an NRA banquet with friends.
A life full of fishing and hunting took Mr. Teel from the state parks of Iowa to the high country around Denver, where he and Rosemary hunted elk every fall with friends. Although he never took an elk, he and Rosemary loved sitting around the campfire with the group, sharing good liquor and spinning exaggerated fishing and hunting stories, Mrs. Teel said.
Mr. Teel moved to Columbia in 1977 to manage the Grocery Supply store. He later worked at John Carlos' Gun Shop and as a delivery driver for Lay's Potato Chips and Little Debbie.
After his retirement in 2004, Mr. Teel learned to cook much of the game he harvested.
"It was not particularly gourmet, but he really learned to expand from sandwiches and fried eggs," Mrs. Teel said.
Mr. Teel is survived by his wife, Rosemary Teel; a son, David Teel, of Columbia; a daughter, Tonya Thornhill, of Hallsville; a brother, Jay Teel, of Des Moines, Iowa; five grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will follow at 11 a.m. at the same location.
Memorial contributions can be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Donations can be sent to Memorial Tribute account #35186042, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or by calling 800-873-6983.
Condolences can be posted at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.