We Have Lost Merle Starr! Long Time Swallow Fancier
I am sure some of you have heard by now but I wanted to make sure everyone knows that my father passed away early Saturday (9/17) morning due to complications from his long bout with lung cancer.
We feel very fortunate to have dad for 2 and a half years after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer where the average life expectancy is only 6 months. We are also very fortunate that dad had a quality of life for those 2.5 years and when his time came we went quickly and suffered very little.
My father had pigeons for 66 years and they were a very important part of this life that brought him great joy and many friends. He had many different breeds during his lifetime but swallows were his passion, specifically tiger swallows and fullheads in all colors and markings. My father introduced me to pigeons at an very early age and I can remember going on many weekend trips with him visiting pigeon breeders all across the country.
My favorite trip with my father is when we went to Europe in 2006, just the two of us driving through the various countries visiting with swallow breeders for 2 weeks. It was the most relaxing and enjoyable time that I got to spend with my father and one I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was also very fortunate that we never lived more than 10 minutes apart from each other and we spent a lot of time together and he also got to spend a lot of time with his grandkids which he loved more than anything. I miss him terribly.
Presidents Message for Fall 2016 from Mike Swanson
I hope all of you had a good year with your birds and had a fun summer. The show season is upon us and there has been a lot of activity in preparation for the shows and related committee work. Before I go into detail about these activities, on a very sad note, as many of you have already heard past USC President Merle Starr has passed away. Merle has worked hard in the fancy and in our club to promote and raise excellent pigeons. I’ve asked Ron DeClement to write about Merle’s life, as Ron has been a very close friend to Merle and his son, Tim for many years. Merle’s passing leaves a big hole in our USC club. Since our annual meet is coming up in just a few months I decided it would be timely to honor Merle at our annual show along with Judine Nelson. These two breeders were very important to the growth of the USC and supported our organization for many decades.
Just this week, Tim Starr visited our home and lofts. Tim was able to stay for a couple of days. We stayed up until 2:00 A.M. talking birds and then we were up at 7:00 spending the rest of the day looking at birds. Tim brought his laptop and we were able to see pictures of his excellent Tiger Swallows. They are very impressive to see when they are marked, a testimony to Tim’s breeding expertise.
The United Swallow Club will be sponsoring a swallow special in the Purebred Pigeon next year, 2017, in the September/October issue. This gives everyone ample time to write articles and place advertisements in their publication. Although it is a year away time goes fast so start now! Ron DeClement has graciously volunteered to help coordinate the special. Make sure you are a part of the special! The Purebred Pigeon publishes a quality magazine; in fact it surpasses most periodical publications in its quality. The swallow special will surely be a collector’s item in years to come and will be a very important tool for promoting swallows!
Nate Wayne, chairperson for updating the USC Swallow Standard, has been working along with committee members Ron DeClement, Bill Griebel and Gary Romig to update the current version of the standard. Please contribute your perspective to these members. Your input, ideas and perspective is needed and valued. Plan to contact these committee members early with your comments and help the in their time-consuming endeavor. Our collaborative work will result in a quality outcome.
The USC Annual Meet is shaping up to be a tremendous show. As of now we have members coming in from all over the United States. Dave Averbeck and Gloria Weisgram are the members in charge and have been coordinating all of the activities to make sure the show runs smoothly. There are always some bumps in the road. However, like I have always said, when things need to get done all USC members pitch in to get it done! Thanks to everyone’s hard work and combined efforts problems get resolved and a quality event is the outcome.
Chris Auer has been working on the USC auction and has at least 12+ pair of birds to be in the auction. Additionally numerous other items will be available for auction as well. I extend a big thank you to all members for their donations. I know Chris has been working hard on the auction to make it a success. Chris has sent numerous emails and made numerous phone calls for donations. In fact he is holding several pairs of birds sent to him by member Brian Goodwin for the auction at the National Young Bird Show in Louisville. Brian, thank you for your very generous donations to the NYBS and the USC Annual meet auctions. The birds Brian Goodwin has donated are all out of German imports.
As I’ve been working on my president’s message I received a return phone call from Jan Nyhus, co-show secretary for the Iowa State Pigeon Association’s annual show. The exact deadline for entries are as follows: Entry deadline postmarked Nov. 7, 2016 and late entries postmarked Nov. 14, 2016. Please be aware this is different from what the NPA Quarterly had this summer in their entry blank for the Iowa’s State Pigeon Association’s 90th Annual Show. I used the NPA information in my message this summer.
Certified judging chairman, Bill Griebel Sr., has been busy encouraging and organizing activities for members working on their requirements to become certified. So if you are intending on attending one of the USC shows (Annual Meet in Des Moines, NYBS in Louisville or NPA National, Vancouver, WA) let Bill know ahead of time so he can coordinate requirements to assist you in achieving certification.
In talking with USC Secretary Elliot Yeske, he will have a treasurer’s report at the annual meet. Remember to order your USC bands now as they are 50 cents each and pay your $10.00 USC membership dues as well! Also at the annual meeting we will be taking nominations for officers for 2018. Nominations will be taken later to be placed in the bulletin along with nominations for the location for the 2017 Annual meet. *(Up to 30 days after the winter bulletin is sent out).
In closing I’m eager for the show season and look forward to seeing all of you in Des Moines! I wish everyone success in the shows wherever you choose to attend!