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Remembering two who left their mark

Two lifelong contributors to outdoors interests and pursuits died in October.

Hamburg Rod & Gun Club members and a vast circle of family and friends mourned the passing of Philip Denz on Oct. 31. He was a longtime club member and active hunter education instructor for more than 50 years.

Denz’s contributions to hunting and shooting sports are extensive. Club officials wrote of Denz, “He was never too busy to help at the club or to sit with a young shooter and give guidance on the safe handling of a firearm.”

Earlier in October, Mary Lee “Sonni” Sampson died in Geneva. Sonni, wife of the late outdoor writer C. Scott Sampson, was a writer-outdoor editor at the Finger Lakes Times and, earlier, in radio production. The Sampsons were longtime members of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association, serving in key roles to help develop the organization.

Sampson was a willing teacher as well as producer of outdoor writing, and her family has a distinguished presence in the outdoors in general and in fly angling in particular. Born Mary Lee Hendrickson, she acquired the name “Sonni” with her beaming smile, energy, enthusiasm and willingness to help individuals and groups contributing to the outdoors and to the public in general.

The Hendrickson name is a popular fly pattern developed more than a century ago by her uncle, A.E. Hendrickson. Sonni, during the April Catskill Legends Dinner, related many stories of her father and famous uncle. Her father, Sam Hendrickson, had been inducted as a Catskill Legend the year before.

Outdoors scholarship

Deer Search of Western New York is offering a $1,000 scholarship to an area high school student who will be attending college in the 2016-2017 school year. Applicants must submit a statement of less than 100 words on their field of study and merits for this scholarship. Along with an essay, the application should include a letter or recommendation from a nonfamily member and proof of a current NYS hunting license and acceptance at a college.

Applications must be received by Jan. 1; the scholarship will be presented at the federation banquet of the recipient’s county. Mail entries to: Deer Search of WNY, P.O. Box 251, Lancaster, NY 14086.

SCI rated high

Volunteer members of the WNY Chapter of Safari Club International are completing another year of constructive contributions, and the chapter has donated extensive funds and operating materials to outdoors organizations around Western New York.

Previously, Safari Club constructed facilities at Beaver Meadow Audubon Society Center in Java, Chestnut Ridge Park and a wheelchair access at Dunkirk Harbor. This year, the main building focus has been on the Boy Scout Camp Schoellkopf in Cowlesville, where workers completed a trap-shooting range and an archery training center and supplied rifles and archery equipment for scouts.

Ongoing, annual contributions include a birdhouse and wood duck box building project during a Safari Club Annual Work Park Day in late winter and a food baskets donation program that delivers $5,000 in goods to needy families at Christmas time.

The chapter will hold its annual Game Dinner at Michael’s Banquet facility in Hamburg on Dec. 11. For reservations, call 570-8275. For more details about the WNY Chapter of Safari Club International, visit the chapter’s Facebook page at WNYSC.