Goodbye Harry…


March 1st, 2014

by Chipper Smith-

Harry Mayo passed away yesterday…pancreatic cancer. God damn it! Years of being a hypochondriac finally paid off for you Harry.


Harry Mayo

A passion for fly fishing brought Harry to West Yellowstone from Connecticut in the 70s. I could say that Harry was a best friend of mine for many years but realize many people could say exactly the same. That is the kind of person Harry was, a friend to many.

Harry had a great smile, a great sense of humor and great respect for wildlife, conservation, and people…pretty much in that order.

I spent many years bow hunting and fishing with Harry. Hobbies were a science and obsession with Harry. He taught me the intricacies of stalking trophy fish in clear shallow waters. Harry would explain how these guys were so smart and had to be stalked with care and that you could not cause the slightest vibration or cast a shadow on any part of the water. The cast had to be absolutely perfect so the line and fly lit ever so softly.

My passion for hunting waned and I was never able to land that fly quite soft enough. For no particular reason we spent less and less time together. Harry married his sweet wife Joanne and eventually moved to Arizona. We lost contact.

I didn’t hear from Harry for months and months then out of the blue He calls about 7 months ago. He was anxious to tell me a story of hidden treasure he had stumbled across while surfing the Internet. A gentleman from Santa Fe named Forrest Fenn had buried a chest worth millions and Harry knew just where it was.

Harry was excited to know that I had been searching for the treasure a few years ahead of him. I have suffered a few injuries that I credit Harry for – minor cuts, abrasions and a severely sprained wrist. Harry’s hunches seemed to always lead me to the very roughest terrain. I also saw some amazing country.

When a friend called and told me of Harry’s death this morning I realized that Harry helped me find Forrest Fenn’s treasure. The treasure was a renewed connection with an old friend. How grateful I am to have talked and emailed with Harry these last 7 months. Thank you Forrest and thank you Harry Mayo. Rest in peace and God bless Joanne.


19 thoughts on “Goodbye Harry…

  1. Harry sounds like the kind of guy most would like to have for a friend, hunting buddy, or fishing partner. This brings back memories I can identify with. A few years ago I lost my hunting and fishing buddy to cancer. I know he would be right in the thick of things searching for Forrest Fenn’s treasure chest. All the while enjoying the thrill of the chase.

    Thanks for sharing, Chipper. God Bless you!

  2. I didn’t know Harry, but I can tell from your adoration that I should have. Cancer sucks. But it is just a reminder to live everyday, don’t dwell on yesterday and forget about tomorrow. Just live well. RIP Harry, today you will be remembered in my prayers. Good-bye fellow hunter!

  3. We have lost more than one friend to that terrible disease. If anyone has a friend or relative with pancreatic cancer, please look into the study with Minnelide at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials at Scottsdale Healthcare in AZ and the U of MN.

    Chipper, so glad you were able to reconnect with your good friend. I’m sure you helped make his last days filled with adventure. And thanks again to Forrest for having created this treasure hunt as the vehicle for bringing family and friends together.

  4. Hey Chipper,
    I thought I was your very best friend. You’ll get no more Babe Ruth candy bars from me so don’t keep sitting out at the curb waiting for the UPS truck.

  5. The one think I hate about aging (other not being able to do many of the things I was could), is that we become separated from the ones that at one time meant so much and we are usually not reminded of that until a funeral.

  6. Chipper, my codolences to you and his family. His memories will live in your heart, seak his name and keep him alive. ¥Peace¥

  7. Pretty nice Brown in that picture.

    Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
    The soul that rises with us, Our life’s star,
    Hath had elsewhere its setting,
    And cometh from afar:
    Not in entire forgetfulness,
    And not in utter nakedness,
    But trailing clouds of glory do we come
    From God, who is our home

  8. Such a small world. That’s been my thought all day.
    I hadn’t been on the site for a bit, but this week I’ve been on every day. My son and I have been planning and researching our treasure hunt for this spring.
    I happened across this post. Joanne is my mother in law, from her previous marriage. I hadn’t spoken to her in awhile, but called her as soon as I saw this. Just sad and so shocking! I sent your site info on to her, so she could be sure to see your post. She is planning a trip and gathering of Harry’s friends back in west Yellowstone. Hope you have a chance to touch base with her.
    So sorry for her loss and yours.
    Such a small world.

    • Hawk, I think Harry was Chipper’s friend. Please Dal, can you say if Forrest forwarded this for you to post? Where did the pictures come from?

      Thank you!

      • The story was sent to me by Chip. I asked him if I could post it. He agreed. I asked if he had a photo of Harry. He said he had one somewhere and would look around. The photo came in just before I left last week so I could not post it at that time. the top photo of West Yellowstone, circa 1962, is from me.

  9. Sorry for the loss. Keep the good memories and let the rest go. That is what we all want from our lives and for those we love. Life is too short, truly.

  10. Sorry for your loss, As a survivor, I can tell you during the depth of my treatment, I had a private visit from Him…..( Yes, Capital H)….He said to me…”I am with you”….so I know your friend is with Him…..You’ll meet again. Have Faith.
    Double G

  11. The season is ended. There was not enough of it; there never is. It sounds like Harry was a keeper. To sit and remember the good old days, one has to have once lived them.

    Try not to despair at his passing, but celebrate to have known him.

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