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Pure Fishing pioneer Berkley Bedell dies at 98

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US President, Lyndon B. Johnson (right), presents Berkley Bedell, Pure Fishing pioneer, with the Small Businessman of The Year award in 1964.

Berkley Bedell, one of the most famous figures in the history of the American sportfishing industry, died last week after suffering a stroke. He was 98.

Bedell was born in Spirit Lake, Iowa, where he founded Berkley & Co., which later became part of the Pure Fishing group, the world’s biggest supplier of fishing tackle. He was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2018.

He was named Small Businessman of the Year in 1964 and received his award from President Lyndon B. Johnson in Washington.

After attending Iowa State University and serving in the US Army from 1942 to 1945, Bedell went on to make his mark in politics. He became a congressman and represented Iowa’s 6th District in the US House of Representatives from 1975 to 1987.

“We feel sadness that Dad’s inspiration of unrelenting determination to make the world and humanity better will have a quieter voice,” said Tom Bedell, who followed his father into the fishing tackle industry.

Bedell endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts democrat, for President earlier this year. “He always fought hard for the people of Iowa,” said Warren. 

Bedell’s wife, Elinor, died in 2017. He is survived by three children.

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