Friends, family eulogize Hemingway
"The young people have got it together. You’ve
just got to let the old bastards die."
Butch Harper, former Ketchum District ranger,
quoting Jack Hemingway
By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer
As memorial services go, Jack Hemingway’s
was unusually high-spirited.
emotional Mariel Hemingway says, "I miss you, Daddy."
But perhaps that’s not too surprising for
a man famous for his indomitable good humor, gifted story-telling ability,
love of food and ceaseless enthusiasm for enjoying and conserving the
Nearly 300 of Hemingway’s friends and
family made abundantly clear at Saturday’s Sun Valley Inn memorial
service that he had been a guide in how life should be lived.
Hemingway died at the age of 77 in a New
York City hospital Dec. 2. of complications following heart surgery.
The memorial, open to the public, followed
a private memorial in New York on Dec. 9.
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s eulogy included
readings from Jack Hemingway’s book, Misadventures of a Fly Fisherman:
My Life With and Without Papa.
Daughter and actress Mariel Hemingway,
brother Patrick Hemingway, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, actor Adam West,
sportscaster Tim Ryan, actor Scott Glen and several of Idaho’s leading
conservationists were just a few of the more than a dozen people Saturday
to eulogize the man known for living the kind of life his father, novelist
Ernest Hemingway, was famous for writing about.
Friend and fishing partner Dan Callahan
recounted his first fishing trip with Hemingway 40 years ago to
Yellowstone National Park. A bottle of gin featured heavily in the tale
that ended with Hemingway’s eating a 2 1/2-inch-long "salmon
fly," sipping a Chilean wine and remarking earnestly, "The wine
"My father, in an unconventional way,
was a priest of sorts … in the greatest cathedral of all --
nature," Mariel Hemingway said during her emotional eulogy. "His
communion took place in the streams he waded…He was with his flock in
She called her father a "humble and
grateful man," who managed to live a positive and full life even
though his father shot himself and his daughter Margaux died at 41 in
Santa Monica, Calif., from an overdose of barbiturates.
"In spite of the tragedies that have
happened in my family," she said, "they were certainly not his
Adam West, who played Batman in the 1960s
television series, called Hemingway a "raconteur" and an
"uncommon man with an uncommon touch."
West joked that the accomplished fly
fisherman was "incredibly jealous of my casting ability" and
jealous of the "bat flies" he would tie.
West said that rather than dwelling on
Hemingway’s death, "I prefer to think that Jack has just gone
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne said, "I don’t
know what it is, but just being here is kind of emotional."
Kempthorne said he was "honored and
humbled" to speak at the service. He traveled from Boise for the
service even though Saturday was his son’s birthday.
He said Jack Hemingway "enhanced"
a great name inherited "by birth right."
No doubt, Hemingway lived a life among
celebrities. He grew up surrounded by an elite literary crowd that
included his father’s friends James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos
Passos and Ezra Pound. His daughters Margaux and Mariel both became
well-known models and actors. But his hunting and fishing friends who
spoke Saturday testified to Hemingway’s own accomplishments as an Idaho
Guy Bonnivier, recently retired director of
The Nature Conservancy of Idaho, said Hemingway’s dedication and
personality saved Silver Creek in southern Blaine County when it was
threatened by development in the 1970s.
Hemingway was willing to take some
"personal hits" to protect fishing and hunting areas, Bonnivier
said. "When he supported a cause, it made many adversaries think
Butch Harper, former Ketchum District
forest ranger, said Hemingway once summed up his optimism for the future
of Idaho’s wild areas, despite the efforts of aging
anti-conservationists, like this: "The young people have got it
together. You’ve just got to let the old bastards die."
Hemingway’s wife Angela, said her husband
completed a memoir just before he fell ill. Titled A Life Worth Living,
the book is already scheduled to be published.
Hemingway’s family held a private
reception following Saturday’s public service.