Bonefish Bob, A Tribute By Bernard F. Blanche

About the Book

This tribute is a journey through the life of “Bonefish Bob” (Robert E. Berger) from his tour of duty in Korea to York, Maine, to Islamorada, Florida, and to Ennis, Montana. His childhood, full of hunting and the sea, did not prepare him for the Korean War. A traumatic battle near the end of the war leaves him with unspoken memories.

From the oral accounts of friends and family, Bob’s exploits become legendary in Maine. His practical jokes, fishing expertise, and friendships lead him to danger and good fortune.

His persona grows in Islamorada, Florida, where he opens Bonefish Bob’s “Ye Old Tackle Shop” with Jan Wood, his companion of many years. Bonefish Bob tantalizes, cajoles, and mesmerizes clients, family, and friends with hilarious pranks, folklore, and thrilling fishing expeditions stalking bonefish and tarpon. Jimmy Buffett once described Bob as “Santa Claus with big feet.”

The Florida summers eventually drive Bob and Jan to a little cabin in Ennis, Montana. A miraculous happenstance on the Upper Missouri River brings Bob’s past into clear focus on one of his solitary fishing ventures. This act of Providence was the inspiration for this book.

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BlancheCoverWebBlack Dad/White Dad

After the deaths of his parents in 1909, Martin A. Bernot leaves Meade, Kansas. His tour of duty with the Merchant Marines leads him to Pennsylvania.

Timothy L. Blanche grows up in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and raises his family
during The Depression working as a train engineer at a steel mill. His eldest son Francis meets Martin’s daughter, Camille, in high school. While in the Coast Guard, Franny receives the Navy Silver Cross for valor, marries Camille, becomes a father of twins, but he is soon a widower.

His journey through two more marriages is laced with the internal struggles of his families. He faces their problems with addiction, psychosis, illness, adoption, and religion. His tests of faith are often, but his endurance, courage, and honor buoy him through the uncertainties.

This is the success story of a dysfunctional family. It is also the story of a short life, but one full of small and large miracles.

About the Author

Bernard F. Blanche began writing in 1961 while in college at Villanova University. Initially interested in short stories, his stint in the Peace Corps motivated some journal
and diary writing. A retired high school English teacher, he has penned newspaper and magazine articles, as well as written and presented motivational and informative speeches. His previous books include Iracema’s Footprint and Bonefish Bob, A Tribute. He and Dorothy, his wife of forty-seven years, have four children.