The “unidentified man” in your March 8 Out of the Past section has been identified.
His name is Eugene “Red” Sargent. Red, with his wife Mary, owned and operated the Troy Resort in the late 1950s through the early 1970s. The business had a restaurant and a country store stocked with the main staples of life for the area residents. He also had five white little rental cabins along the Grand Ronde River which are still there today. Red’s business also included a filling station so that all of the hunters would have an adequate supply of petrol in order to hunt whatever beast they were chasing.
The picture, in your March 8 edition, was taken on the “store” side of his business as all the fishing pictures shown in the photograph were normal everyday fishermen, most of them from Wallowa County, that were successful in landing a steelhead. Red was always able and willing to take a photograph, have it developed in Enterprise, and then post the 8x10 black and white photo on his store wall. The photos were seldom labeled with the names of the fishermen.
Red was a character. He put a sign up outside the restaurant that read “Help Keep Troy Green, Bring Money.” He was a mentor to me, teaching me the fine intricacies of elk hunting. One of his notable quotes when hunting was “You only get two bullets, one to shoot the elk and the other to shoot yourself if you miss.”
It was Red’s trademark to have and enjoy a cigar complete with a filter tip as shown in your photograph. In the store, restaurant and outdoors he would carry that cigar between his lips, even if it wasn’t lit. He also sported a fine mustache with long waxed ends that curled up on the ends. He would twirl the ends from time to time throughout the day to keep it well groomed.
Red was an icon of Troy for many years. I am sure there are many people who couldn’t help but recognize the unidentified man standing in front of the Fishing Wall of Fame.
Jon E. Erwin