Bridge over favorite creek named for late NC fishing writer

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Dedication spans man's life, love

2-17-02

By JIM SCHLOSSER, Greensboro News and Reocrd Staff Writer



Conrad "Buck" Paysour Jr. wrote prose, except when he rhapsodized about the joys of fishing on Scranton Creek.

He then became a poet.

He described the sun hitting the brackish water, egrets and herons wading in the marshes, woodpeckers hammering the trees and osprey diving to snare fish. He was awed by deer staring at him.

This love affair between a man and a place continued until Paysour's death from cancer last June at 69, nearly eight years after he retired as a News & Record columnist and reporter.

In September, 22 of his fishing buddies sprinkled his ashes into Scranton Creek.

Now, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners and the state want to memorialize Paysour in a more lasting way. At the urging of Commissioner Troy Mayo, the Hyde board voted Feb. 4 to dedicate the new bridge on U.S. 264 over Scranton Creek to Paysour.

The two-lane span replaced one that had a boat ramp below it, where Paysour often put his boat into the water.

"That was his favorite place in the world," says Paysour's widow, retired News & Record reporter Doris Dale Paysour.

About the bridge dedication, she adds, "He would be totally delighted -- and flabbergasted."

The Hyde County resolution has been sent to the state Board of Transportation, headed by Greensboro resident Doug Galyon. Galyon, who knew Paysour, also is chairman of the board's naming committee.

Galyon says the committee has expressed enthusiasm for putting Paysour's name on the bridge. The full board must approve, but Galyon says he has never known a time when it didn't go along with a committee recommendation.

Paysour's friends can thank Mayo.

On a beautiful day as summer gave way to fall last year, he found a note on his boat ramp next to his home on Scranton Creek. A group was asking permission to use his ramp later that day.

Among the names on the note was that of Conrad Paysour III, Buck's son, a lawyer in Greenville. Mayo knew him.

The son and a few others had arrived early to prepare for the ash-sprinkling ceremony and found the boat ramp at the old bridge gone. They were riding around looking for a ramp when they spotted Mayo's, although the younger Paysour had no idea someone he knew owned it and lived next door.

"It was providential," says retired Greensboro banker William F. Black, who was with the advance party.

When the full party arrived -- mourners ranged from hourly-wage earners to corporate CEOs -- Mayo was astonished one person could be so well-liked. Most had driven 4-1/2 hours from the Greensboro area. One came from Indiana.

Mayo accepted the party's invitation to join them on the river. The boats went to a spot where Buck Paysour had often met friends for lunch during a day of fishing.

When he heard others speak of Paysour's love for Scranton Creek, Mayo knew that he and the departed had been kindred spirts.

"It's Mother Nature at her best," he says of the creek. "We love it, and we can certainly understand why he did."

Paysour's three books about fishing have been placed in a case at the Hyde County Courthouse in Belhaven.

Bill Black recalls that after the ashes went into the water that day, fish started feeding around the boats. A lone goose flew overhead.

"I later learned that in Native American lore the goose is what takes the spirit to heaven," he says.

Mayo hopes that in a few months another ceremony will be held at Scranton Creek: to dedicate Buck's Bridge.

Contact Jim Schlosser at 373-7081 or jschlosser@news-record.com
 

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