Man who died after lake incident remembered by fishing partner - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Man who died after lake incident remembered by fishing partner

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Family and friends are remembering a man who died this week after he fell from his boat at Percy Priest Lake.

Gerry Patterson lived for the lake and for fishing. Longtime fishing partner Don Burr said Patterson was retired from Bass Pro and spent many of his days heading out on the lake hoping for the next big haul.

"You don't take a fishing partner just because you take somebody," said Burr. "It takes a long time to create the relationship it takes to be a good fishing partner."

Burr said he and Patterson would only take to the lakes on weekdays. They'd let the working fisherman have a chance at a big catch on the weekends.

"When he'd catch one, he'd say, 'There he is!' " said Burr. "When we stopped, we talked to each other. When we were fishing, we're thinking about where the bait was in that water. We were fishing."

The two going fishing together up to 50 times a year, Burr said it's going to be hard to pick up a pole, thread a line and sit out with the gentle lapping of the water without Patterson.

"It will not be the same," said Burr. "Am I going to let this stop me from fishing? No. Will I have a hard time with it? Yes."

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency said this week Patterson was on Percy Priest Lake when he fell off his chair and fell in the water.

Burr said he got a call from Patterson's brother, Patterson had passed away.

"It was such a shock that I didn't really catch his voice, or it was such a shock that my brain wouldn't allow me to think who was calling," said Burr. "It does things to you that you don't know how to cope with."

After ten good years as fishing partners, Burr said he feels it's his duty to share Patterson's story of the deep love he had for the lake, his wife and his stepsons.

"God bless them, cause this is hard," said Burr.

In April, one of their last days on the lake together, Burr said he and Patterson got their best catch ever.

"Wasn't unusual for us to catch a good mess of fish," said Burr. "I think there's a total of 58 there, and we had a limit. We could've gone to 60."

With memories like this, Burr said Patterson will always be with him every time his bait hits the water, a man who passed away doing what he loved.

"I think he's proud of the fact he was doing what he loved when he went," said Burr. "I would be."

TWRA officials said the exact cause of death has not been determined just yet. Patterson's funeral will be held this Monday at the Hermitage Funeral Chapel at 2 p.m.

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