Elwood Harry was appointed IGFA President in 1975. From the beginning, Elwood K. Harry lived to fish. A child of the Great Depression, Harry was born April 18, 1914, in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania to middle-class parents. He was a good student and dutiful son when he wasn’t prowling the fertile waterways of the Northeast, catching trout and panfish in a practiced manner that Tom Sawyer would have envied. He came of age in the 1930s well aware of hardship, but his grocery store-owning father was a good provider and Elwood was not unmindful in helping to keep the family business afloat. As he grew into manhood, Harry also expanded his fishing horizons, discovering for the first time the bounty of the eastern seaboard and the rich waters of Chesapeake Bay. In May of 1938, he married his sweetheart Adele (“Teddy”) Eby and prepared for a conventional life.
However, World War II changed all that. Somewhat by accident, Harry fell into an aircraft consultancy position with the USAAF during the war and along the way developed a considerable expertise in aviation logistics and supply. WWII was the first great air war in which planes were used by both sides in copious numbers. However, the art of keeping large numbers of aircraft in the air was a relatively new one, requiring a proprietary supply pipeline and special infrastructure unknown to previous conflicts. It was a brand new field, and in it Elwood Harry found his life’s work. At the war’s conclusion, he opened his own business in aviation supply and was soon a successful part of the post-war aviation boom. By 1950, he was well on his way to becoming a made man, and it had become time to stoke his lifelong passion for fishing.
Already an accomplished freshwater angler, Harry’s growing financial means allowed him to expand his angling horizons and he soon fell in love with the burgeoning sport of giant tuna fishing. Over the course of a widely-traveled angling career, Harry caught more than 600 giant bluefin tuna, an astounding record and perhaps second only to Bill Carpenter’s all-time mark. A keenly competitive angler, Harry captained the United States team during many years of the Bahamian International Tuna Competition, and he competed (and often won) as a U.S. team member in the Sharp Cup matches off Nova Scotia. For the 20-year period between 1950 and 1970, there were few anglers anywhere in the world more successful in catching giant bluefin tuna than Elwood Harry.
Harry died at the age of 78 while still IGFA President in June of 1992. Elwood Harry’s contributions to the IGFA were immense and, with his passing, a special era of the IGFA was stilled