The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


December 23, 2012

THE EVENING CAMPFIRE: Bill Feigert - a life in the outdoors

OPINION — RECENTLY MY younger brother Bill Feigert fulfilled a lifelong dream by traveling to Hawaii with five family members and running his first full marathon in an excellent time. That night he died of a heart attack at age 59. He was a loved one and very best friend to me and several others, a good friend to hundreds, and an enemy to no one. He had simple tastes, an easygoing manner, and the ability to make anyone laugh anywhere, anytime. He took pleasure in his family and the outdoors. He was an outdoorsman every day of his life.

From the days when he and his buddy Davey Shaffer were rascally 7-year-olds trailing older brothers Skip and me to the neighborhood pond, carrying all our bait and gear because that was the price to tag along, until a month ago, when he took three deer in one season, Billy devoted much of his time to hunting and fishing. Uncle Bud introduced him to crappie fishing at Pymatuning and took him out for trout at Uncle Jack’s Cottage in Venango County. On the stream he was a wanderer upstream and down, going it alone and avoiding the crowds. That was Billy, a solitary guy sometimes, especially in the outdoors, but the life of the party when it suited him. “I love beer,” he once said famously to a group of us at camp, including his wife Sandy. “I really love beer.  I could marry beer — sorry Honey — because beer is my friend.”

Powser brought him into the family small game hunting tradition when he was 12, and he participated every fall Saturday with us for 20 years, never the best marksman but always the most likely to get off multiple shots. “The more times you shoot,” he told us repeatedly, “the better your chance of hitting the game!”

In our twenties, he and I took up deer hunting, and Skip, Dale, and Powser followed our lead. They always traveled to deer camp on Sunday, though, the day before the opener, while Billy and I left the Friday after Thanksgiving and hunkered down for the weekend at Uncle Jack’s, hunting small game, scouting for deer, and reading outdoor magazine after outdoor magazine, studying the best practices of whitetail pursuit and then trying them out in the forest.

In 1986 we founded F-Troop Camp in Warren County, and Billy became a charter member. His first deer season opening day there, he wandered up the mountain before daybreak and discovered F-Rock on the edge of steep ridge and bench. He killed a six-point there that first morning and another buck from the same rock on the following year’s opener. Billy or his son Billy, Junior (the F-Man), or somebody has hunted from that boulder every first day for a quarter of a century.  Donna Rai and I and Brad and Todd and maybe Gary and Brett plan to travel up to camp next week and climb up to F-Rock to linger and remember.

When the F-Man was only the F-Kid, he and his Dad visited camp on frequent weekends with one of F-Kid’s buddies, such as Sluggo, the weakest hitting wiffle-ball player in camp history, Castaway, the wildest flinger of fishing line in Pennsylvania, or PigPen, who never touched a bar of soap that we ever witnessed and who was a pyromaniac at the campfire.

A few years later, Sandy’s daughter Amy made several trips and earned the camp name The Hillside Screamer for her constant loud chatter and boisterous laughter while telling tales at the fire. For the past several years, my brother’s primary companion to local ponds, rivers and lakes for bass outings has been Marty, Sandy’s son, who whispered “I lost my fishing buddy” at the services last week, and shook his head in wonder, knowing how valuable a true fishing friend can be.

We will all miss him, and the outdoors will miss him, too. He was an enthusiast in the woods and on the waterways. But he was more than that. His smile, his sense of humor, his laid-back demeanor put all those around him at ease. Any room he walked into, he lit up with his presence. He could laugh at you and laugh at himself and laugh at anything. He brought a hint of brightness into every life he touched. And now all of us who knew and loved him are less rich and our lives are drearier than they were a few short days ago.

The best and only thing you could say about Billy is: everybody loved him. Everybody loved him. I knew him for 59 years, and, if we ever had an argument, I don’t remember it. Billy had no time for something as stupid as arguments. He knew life was too short.

Last Tuesday after the funeral, several of us stopped down at the Jai Alai to toast my brother and listen to close friend Stephen McCarthy tell story after hilarious story about his life and times with Billy. That’s pretty much what we’re left with now: the memories.

Don Feigert is the outdoors writer for THE HERALD and the ALLIED NEWS.  His latest book, The F-Troop Camp Chronicles, and his earlier books are available by contacting Don at 724-931-1699 or  Visit his Web site at

Text Only
  • SPORTVIEW: Johnny Football claims he has learned from his 'rookie mistakes'

    HERE ARE some thoughts from a guy who might have made a few “rookie mistakes” in his life, ala Johnny Manziel.
    Johnny Football admitted this past week that he made some rookie mistakes. Really?
    Usually rookie mistakes for most NFL newbies are throwing into coverage or fumbling the football because you don’t tuck it tightly to your side.

    July 27, 2014

  • NFL NOTEBOOK: Ex-Sharon star Austin hopes to spark Lions' defense

    THE TALENTED — albeit underachieving — Detroit Lions commence camp July 27 in Allen Park, Mich. as the National Football League prepares for the 2014 season.

    July 21, 2014

  • Fighting cancer Racing to fight cancer

    Former Hickory High athlete Amanda Budzowski is on the run — the run to raise money to fight cancer.
    Budzowski is part of Team in Training, an organization that has raised more than $1.4 billion for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since forming in 1988. Her division is known as IRONTEAM and she is currently training for the 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon in Mont Tremblant, Canada, in August.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians need fast start after All-Star break

    SO FAR, so good. I’m referring to the start of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians after the All-Star break on Friday night.
    Both teams rallied to win. The Buccos beat the Colorado Joints — err, I mean Rockies — by coming from behind in the 8th inning. Since they legalized marijuana sales in that state, it gave new meaning to John Denver’s song “Rocky Mountain High.”

    July 20, 2014

  • Sky high Rutters earn spot in national motocross event

    The brother-sister racing duo of Elijah and Dannah Rutter of Mercer are set to travel to Hurricane Mills, Tenn., to compete soon in the prestigious 33rd annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships presented by AMSOIL at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
    Elijah, 18, and Dannah, 16, earned a ticket to the event with their performances at qualifiers and then regionals and are among the top 5 percent of riders in the U.S. Overall, 20,000 hopefuls from across the U.S. competed and there are only 1,446 qualifying spots at nationals.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Football scramble Notebook: Sharon football greats meet, reunite at inaugural golf scramble

    Mid-July, with the temperature 80-plus degrees at Avalon at Buhl Country Club; however, it felt like a fall, football Friday.
    The inaugural Sharon Football Boosters 4-man golf scramble took place recently, and served as a Who’s Who in the Tigers’ triumphant tradition.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: All is right with the world - LeBron has come home!

    HAPPY DAYS are here again. The prodigal child has returned!
    The announcement that “King James” is returning to Cleveland has created a level of euphoria not seen since the Browns won the city’s last major sport championship a couple of years ago.
    What’s that? Oh, yeah — make that 50 years ago (1964).

    July 13, 2014

  • LeBron James Full text of LeBron's essay in SI

    LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday in an essay that he wrote for Sports Illustrated. The following is the full text of that essay.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Snyder, Gordon, Popatak named to All-State team

    Grove City High’s David Gordon, Sharpsville’s Greg Popatak and Lakeview’s Logan Snyder recently were named to the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association all-state team.
    Synder was selected 1st-Team in Class A as a designated-hitter, while Gordon was honorably-mentioned in Class AAA and Popatak similarly was honored in AA. Gordon gained his laurels as a pitcher; Popatak as a 3rd baseman.

    July 10, 2014

  • Oprah lands first interview with Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, Matthew

    Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, is breaking his silence for the first time since his father's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, sitting down with Oprah to tell his story.

    July 8, 2014

  • County champs Little League Tournaments

    Sharon won the District 2 Major Division (12-year-olds) Championship, while Greenville 9-10 and West Middlesex 11 teams notched tournament victories in recent action.

    Hermitage Brennan Chiropractic won the Mercer County 14-under championship recently.

    Following are game reports:

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Cook The First Tee of Sharon celebrates 15th anniversary

    Professional golf star John Cook has received many honors and awards in his illustrious career, but probably none mean as much as those similar to the one he received Monday afternoon at The First Tee of Sharon.
    During a special ceremony to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the local program, a permanent plaque was unveiled in his honor describing the contributions he has made to junior golf.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: John Cook here Monday for First Tee; other celebs on July 11

    THE RETURN of Tiger Woods to a PGA event sparked a lot of interest this past week. The return of John Cook to Buhl Farm Golf Course Monday will do the same locally.
    Cook, a standout on the Champions Tour and outstanding TV golf analyst, will conduct a clinic at 11 a.m. Monday at the course to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of The First Tee of Sharon program.
    It is open to the public at no charge.

    June 29, 2014

  • Tri-Athletes Hickory honors Tri-Athletes

    Hickory High honored its 2013-14 tri-athletes in a recent ceremony, the latest installment in a program that began in 2003-04.
    Fifty student-athletes (grades 9-12) were cited for having competed in at least one sport in the fall, winter and spring while maintaining a minimum B (85 percent) grade-point-average during the first three 9-week grading periods of the  academic year.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Ex-Greenville man to enter Bedford County Hall

    HUGHEY TATE was the greatest baseball player that ever lived — hitting 10,000 home runs and never making an out in 50 years on the diamond.
    OK, that’s not true of course. But that’s the way Hughey would have told it before bursting into laughter.
    Tate, a Greenville man who was as good at spinning a yarn as well as he was in hitting home runs, will be inducted posthumously into the Bedford County (Pa.) Hall of Fame Saturday. Some of his relatives from this area will attend the ceremonies.

    June 22, 2014

Top 25 (AP Poll)
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter