Joe Pisarro Passes

Founding member of Theodore Gordon Flyfishers in New York.

Joe A. Pisarro, the son of Italian immigrants who grew up to love the sport of fly-fishing, its history and its people, died in California on June 7, just a few weeks shy of his 89th birthday. Pisarro spent most of his professional career with the National YMCA in New York as the associate and subsequently director of communications for the organization. He retired about 25 years ago when the Y moved corporate offices to Chicago. Born and educated in Trenton, New Jersey, Pisarro served in the army during the Second World War. He often used his rudimentary home-style Italian to translate from prisoners during the North Africa Campaign in 1942 and 1943. Following military service, he held small newspaper and wire service reporting jobs before joining the National YMCA staff in the early 1960s. A passionate if infrequent fly-fisher, Pisarro was a founding member of the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers. An ardent conservationist, he frequently joked, I not only release them, I hardly ever catch em.

He was editor and contributing writer to the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers literary annual, Random Casts; and the first editor of the Federation of Fly Fishers quarterly magazine, The Flyfisher. His story of a tattered man fishing for eels through a New York manhole in the 1980 issue of Random Casts became an often-requested classic. Pisarro was as comfortable trading quips, barbs and a dram of scotch with fly-fishing luminaries Ed Zern, Ernest Schwiebert and Lee Wulff as he was with YMCA staff and volunteers. He was a voluminous reader and prided himself on finishing the New York Times crossword puzzle on the subway between home and office. Joe was seldom if ever seen without a pipe.

Following his retirement from the YMCA, Pisarro moved to northern California, but returned to the East Coast after the untimely death of his wife, Ruth. He settled in East Wallingford, VT, to be near his son, Paul. Once in the Green Mountain State, Pisarro worked as a volunteer at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester. Pisarros 400 book collection of fly-fishing literature was given to the American Museum of Fly Fishing.

Pisarro was predeceased by his wife and son. He is survived by his daughter, Judy Pisarro-Grant, his son-in-law, and two granddaughters. Memorial tributes may be made to the Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Inc., P.O. Box 2345, Grand Central Station New York, NY 10163-2345; or to the fishing conservation organization of your choice. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Judy Pisarro-Grant, 19808 Acre St., Northridge, CA 91324.