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In Memory of Lefty: The Fisher and the Man

September 11, 2018
Maryland native Bernard Victor "Lefty" Kreh was a big name with a small ego. The world-renowned, self-taught fly-caster, who passed away in March at the age of 93, brought much to the sport of fly-fishing, and to the people who encountered him along the way.

One of those people is Mark Lamos, MD, an internal medicine physician at GBMC and past president of the primary care side of GBMC’s physician enterprise, Greater Baltimore Medical Associates (GBMA).

Dr. Lamos met Lefty more than 20 years ago through a mutual friend. After successfully teaching Dr. Lamos about advanced casting, Lefty called the doctor and asked to be his next patient. Dr. Lamos said yes, but became much more than just his primary care physician.

Dr. Lamos describes their relationship as a "lot like father and son, early." They fished together often and Dr. Lamos traveled with Lefty on some of his fishing trips, especially when Lefty began to lose confidence in his health and wanted someone there to help. Dr. Lamos twice had to fly Lefty home because of exacerbations of his illness. Even though the two were close, these actions weren't outside the normal scope of work for Dr. Lamos as evidenced by patient feedback.

I drive three (3) hours to see Dr. Mark Lamos because of the exceptional care I receive."

"I pray Dr. Mark Lamos doesn't give up practice as long as I'm alive! I trust him with my life!"

"Dr. Lamos is the best. He makes me feel like I am the most important person to whom he provides care and that my health is most important to him."

Dr. Mark Lamos with friend, Lefty Kreh
Dr. Mark Lamos with friend, Lefty Kreh
"I try my best to be straightforward. I have no secondary motive except to try and help the person. I've always believed in taking care of them like they're my family," Dr. Lamos said of his attitude toward his work. "Fairness, that is the guiding principle if you're going to do this properly. But the other reason people always came to me was because I captained the ship."

As he did for Lefty. According to Dr. Lamos, Lefty touched many areas of GBMC's system to varying degrees, and Dr. Lamos managed his diseases: contacting specialists, keeping his appointments, consulting with physicians and more.

"I do this for everyone. I always have. It's the only way," Dr. Lamos said. "This shouldn't be about me. Please, not about me. I'm just a guy trying to help. I don't need somebody to pat me on the back."

It's no wonder the pair were such great friends. Lefty was also notoriously modest. Despite fishing with five presidents and some of the biggest names in television and sports, the Frederick-native's humble beginnings never left him.

Son of a homemaker and bricklayer who lost his father at age 7, Lefty didn't discover his innate skill in fly-fishing until his service in World War II and the Battle of the Bulge ended. Upon returning, he worked for Fort Detrick in the biologic agent lab where he was one of three employees to become infected with anthrax – and the only to survive. This strain of anthrax was militarized and called BVK-1: which stands for Bernard Victor Kreh.

In the 1950s, he started his career as a writer, freelancing for the outdoor section of the Frederick News-Post and eventually became outdoors editor for the Baltimore Sun, where he remained until he retired at age 65. In between, he was also advising fishing companies, designing reels – including the Lefty Deceiver, which made it onto a postage stamp – and writing 30 books.

"There's no one like him in the industry," Dr. Lamos said. "It was his own brutal effort. Fly fishing in the 1930s and 40s was just a bunch of trout fisherman who fished for small fish in little streams and wore tweed jackets and smoked a pipe. But then he ushered it into fishing for saltwater fish, bonefish, tarpon, red fish and then became a part of the conservation movement."

These accolades just skim the surface of the water that is Lefty's career. He made a powerful impact on the industry, and was willing to share his knowledge as well as quiet time on the water with everyone from dignitaries to the everyman.

"Do you know how difficult it is to be consistently straightforward with people? But be nuanced enough to be relatable?" Dr. Lamos said. "I know others who have part of this, but that's the way he was. He was special.

"He was like your favorite pair of boots in the room."

Thank you to All Those Who Made Gifts in Honor of Lefty Kreh

Carol and Richie Bancells
Carolina Mountain Sports
Dr. Robert S. Minch
Fly Fishing Shows
Fly Girl Charters LLC
Gangler's Fly-In Lodges, LLC
G-Outdoors, Inc.
J Grace Custom Rods, Inc.
Jimbos Delta Excursions LLC
Kendall G. Osborne
Longbeach Village LLC
Mr. Adam Maris
Mr. Allen G. Miller
Mr. and Mrs. Craig Matthews
Mr. and Mrs. David Cargile
Mr. and Mrs. H. Richards Tillman. Sr.
Mr. and Mrs. Jack Nicklaus
Mr. and Mrs. John K. Shaw, III
Mr. and Mrs. John Randolph
Mr. and Mrs. John Shollenberger
Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fedner
Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Apte
Mr. and Mrs. Stuart S. Janney, III
Mr. and Mrs. William Pierce
Mr. and Ms. Richard Krantz
Mr. Andy R. Mill
Mr. Anthony Pazana
Mr. Blake Sorensen
Mr. Bob Cheers
Mr. Bobby Sands
Mr. Brad Burns
Mr. Bruce Wankel
Mr. Buzz Bryson
Mr. Charles Devens, III
Mr. Charles Hammerstad
Mr. Charles M. King, Jr.
Mr. Christopher Millard
Mr. D Scott Dennis
Mr. Daniel Marini
Mr. Daniel Neuland
Mr. Dave Messics
Mr. Dave Zajano
Mr. Dennis Worley
Mr. Dick Sagara
Mr. Don La Piana
Mr. Edward Dentry
Mr. Edward F. Jaworowski
Mr. Eric Leiser
Mr. Frank Moore
Mr. Fred Rehbein
Mr. Gary Soucie
Mr. Jayme Murakoshi
Mr. Jeffrey Holberg
Mr. Jim Cowan
Mr. Jim Rainey
Mr. John DeRouen
Mr. John McCain
Mr. John Schneider
Mr. John Trout
Mr. Kenneth Pavol
Mr. Larry Dahlberg
Mr. Lenny Lichvar
Mr. Luis A. Mispireta
Mr. Mark Lucas
Mr. Michael Maloney
Mr. Milton W. Thomas
Mr. Mitch Howell
Mr. Nathan Thomson
Mr. Nick Lyons
Mr. Norman Bartlett and Mrs. Sandra Bartlett
Mr. Ozzie Ozefovich
Mr. Patrick Mcevoy
Mr. Phil Balisle
Mr. Phil Gay
Mr. Phil Yost
Mr. Philip Bowles
Mr. Ralf Schloss
Mr. Raphael O. Brooks, Jr.
Mr. Richard Andrews
Mr. Richard Corbett
Mr. Richard Formato
Mr. Richard Southgate, Jr.
Mr. Robert Barrett
Mr. Robert Mayo
Mr. Robert R. Selb and Ms. Diane McCabe
Mr. Robert W. Lewis
Mr. Rufus Wakeman
Mr. Russ Marek
Mr. Sam Talarico
Mr. Terry Gunn
Mr. Thomas Hoffmaster
Mr. Walter Tingle
Mr. Walter V. Dudley
Mr. Wayne Grauer
Mrs. Alexandra Thomas
Mrs. Gale Hill
Ms. Adele Fox
Ms. Barbara Lynn Unfried
Ms. Betty Shaw
Ms. Jean Chapin
Ms. Jody C. Kennedy
Ms. Karen Chase
Ms. Karen Rhueban
Ms. Patricia Clements
Ms. Patricia L. Manney
Ms. Ronda Webb
Ms. Sara Cheheyl
Ms. Sarah Brokaw
Ms. Sarah Foster
Ms. Tracey Clarke
Ms. Vicki Kantner
Robin and Mark Swope
Schuylkill County Chapter of Trout Unlimited
South Jersey Coastal Fly Anglers
Sun Plumbing & Heating
Tailwaters Travel
The Baltoro Trust Dated June 14, 1979
Tom and Marie Ference
Trout Unlimited, Maryland Chapter
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