Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Outdoor Author Tom Petkewitz to Speak at Garst

On Sunday, October 16 at 2:00 pm, Garst Museum will kick off its annual Speaker Series with a talk by outdoorsman Tom Petkewitz. He will speak about his new book, From Outdoors Past: A Journey Through Time and Select Territory. The book is a collection of photos and stories about fishing and hunting artifacts from the Western Ohio region. Petkewitz will bring copies of his books, which contains 238 photos, as well outdoor memorabilia and vintage photographs. A book signing will follow the talk.

Petkewitz’s publisher, Whitefish Press, describes the book this way: “In this fantastic journey into our outdoor past, author and collector Tom Petkewitz gives us a pictorial essay on the fishing and hunting collectibles found in his own backyard.” This area includes Ohio’s Darke, Mercer, Auglaize, Miami, Shelby, Preble and Montgomery counties, as well as Randolph County, Indiana.

A Dayton native, Petkewitz retired in 2000 from the prosecuting attorney’s office in Miami County. He grew up hunting and fishing and later began collecting outdoor sports memorabilia. One day after lunch in Tipp City, Tom and his wife, Martha, went into an antique store. He was looking for some kind of knickknack to display on a bookshelf. When he came across a fishing lure, he was hooked. He and Martha have now spent years accumulating outdoor memorabilia. Martha has her own collection.

Petkewitz emphasizes, “This is not a book about lures. It includes many kinds of artifacts, including old fishing and hunting licenses and vintage photos.” He attends many sports and antiques shows across the area. After a while, he organized photos of many of his collectibles in plastic pages that people could look through. “A lot more women than men look through all the photos,” he said. Petkewitz was disappointed that one of his favorite photos was left off the cover. It is an old photo of several Old Order women fishing and having a good time. “This book is for women as well as men,” he said.

At one of these shows a few years ago, a publisher approached Petkewitz and told him they wanted to publish a book with content similar to what he was showcasing in his display. After negotiations back and forth, he agreed to do the book, which came out in December.

This is his first book, but Petkewitz has published many articles in magazines and journals. He wrote for the Darke County Profile and Country Anglin’ Outdoor Guide, as well as several other state and national publications. His collection has been featured in Dayton newspapers and in multiple Associated Press pieces published around the country.

Petkewitz was close to Bruce Dawson, who featured Tom’s artifacts in many articles. Jim Morris, Dayton Daily News outdoor columnist, commented, “A Greenville man has taken his hobby of collecting old fishing lures and other outdoors memorabilia to a new level.”

This program, the first in the annual Speaker Series, is at 2:00 pm on Sunday, October 16 at the Garst Museum. Admission to the lecture is free, but regular admission applies if you wish to tour the museum.

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