Donald Richard Kast was born in Gridley, California to Florence and Don Kast. As a young boy, he became infatuated with fish and their diet, and would never pass up the chance to study them when fishing with his father and grandfather. When Don was 12, he took a job a local sporting goods store in Gridley, and the Fly Fisherman that we all know so well, came to be.
Don began painting in High School, and sold his first painting upon graduation. Shortly after high school, the Korean War broke out and he was drafted into the Army, and was sent straight to the front lines. Just shy of two months later, Don was wounded in a mortar attack and sent home due to the severity of his wounds. Upon his discharge, he used fishing and art to re-adjust to civilian life. After years in the mountains of northern California working as a fishing guide, ski instructor, and a brief period with the Forest Service, Don left California for the mountains of Montana.
Don owned and operated a fly shop out of Bucks T-4 in Big Sky for several years along with guiding fishermen on the Gallatin and Madison rivers. It was in Big Sky that he met the love of his life, Maren. She was also an accomplished fisherman and artist, and greatly encouraged his passion for both. The two of them moved to Willow Creek where they opened the Willow Creek Art Gallery and Fly Fishing Center. Most nights they would spend on the lake or the rivers. If not there, you would find them on the balcony of their home drinking wine and enjoying the evening, and their home was always open. They never knew strangers, only friends they hadn’t met.
After his wife passed away, Don spent most of his time painting and fishing until the old war wounds started to slow him down. He was active in the VFW and the American Legion, and was the VFW Commander of Post 7621 in Three Forks. After an injury in mid-August, Don was in rehab at St Johns in Billings, MT. On September 1st. 2019, Don said goodbye, and joined his beloved wife in Heaven.
Don leaves behind two daughters, Joanie Serena-Gole and Anne Smith Jr, Stepchildren Paul & Maggie Wortman, Keryl Wortman, and Naomi Wortman, and numerous grandkids and great grandkids.
There will be a Military Memorial ceremony on September 11th 2019, at the Veterans Park in Three Forks at 0900, with the funeral being held at 11:00 at Grace Lutheran Church in Three Forks. A lunch will follow the service at noon. A family committal will be held later in the afternoon.
Pops, I hope you finally catch “The Big One” down near Norwegian Creek.