Paul and I fished hard for a couple days, and I talked his ears off. One of my stories ended up being my first-ever published piece, and it graced the pages of the first-ever Kayak Fish magazine. He has been an encourager to me for a good while, working over the rough edges of my work and polishing it for publication. On one of my latest works we were talking about our sons, who were both eighteen, and the struggles of growing up.
Sadly, a short time ago Paul’s son James succumbed to an inoperable brain aneurysm. In the midst of terrible tragedy, the Lebowitz family chose to donate James’ organs, and lives were saved in the process. James was attending Cal Poly Pomona as a freshman when he passed away on January 13. The family has established a scholarship fund for the university in James’ memory.
YakAttack, Yak Gear, and Native Watercraft are working together to raise money for the scholarship fund, and the kayak fishing community is rallying to help. If you would like to help support the fund, stickers are for sale on both the YakAttack and Yak Gear websites, as well as a raffle for a “Redfish 12” in Hidden Oak Camo donated by Native Watercraft. Wilderness Systems and Jackson Kayak have also pledged kayaks to be used to help raise money; updates will be posted as information becomes available. When you receive the stickers, upload images of them on your adventures using the #kayakfishing4james hashtag.
Thank you for your support of this family and this fund, and thank you for helping the memory of James Lebowitz live on. There is a memorial “paddle out” scheduled for February 23 in La Jolla, CA. For those who can’t be there, paddle where you can and when you can, but take a moment to think of James and use the hashtag in your adventure if you can. It will be a way to help the Lebowitz family celebrate a life that keeps on giving.