DANSVILLE — It was a bittersweet moment as the community came together to honor one of its own in the best way possible.
Tim Middleton, 50, of Dansville passed away Feb. 18, leaving behind his wife, Christine, three children, Ariel, Jed, and Braxton, parents Marilyn and Brax, and grandchildren Madison, Kendall, Holden, Dakota, and Madelyn.
Tim and his wife Christine owned Middleton’s Frozen Custard in Dansville. He was a Civil Engineer for the NYSDOT. He was an avid outdoorsman and member of the Dansville Fish and Game Club, where he was active with the NYSDEC fish conservation program, stocking area lakes and streams with fish. In his free time he enjoyed the outdoors, fishing, hunting, boating, and camping.
On June 9 the Dansville Fish and Game Club put together a Tim Middleton Memorial Youth Catch and Release Fishing Derby at Deer Pond. All children 12 and under were able to come and fish for prizes. Dansville McDonald’s owner Louis Buono Jr. donated 400 hamburgers, drinks, and food certificates to the event. The Dansville Boy Scouts cooked the burgers at the pond.
Money used in honor of Tim’s memory went in to make this event possible with 80 brand new fishing poles given to children in need. Several donations were given from others as well such as; Middleton’s Frozen Custard, Ice Cream Island, Wayland American Legion, Outdoor Sportsman, Tell Them Where You Got It Shop, and Ted’s Tackle.
“I love this event, and this it is an appropriate way to honor Tim,” Christine Middleton said. “Tim really loved the outdoors. He would love that we are promoting children fishing and enjoying the outdoors.”
Marilyn Middleton, Tim’s mother, said that her son was a huge supporter of the club.
“I am touched beyond belief to see so many people out here for Tim’s memory,” she said.
Brax Middleton, Tim’s father, said that he would take him fishing since he was 12 years old.
“It is wonderful to see the town out here. Some of them are his friends and family,” he said. “I took Tim fishing at all the local ponds since he was about 12 years old.”
Jed Middleton, Tim’s son, said that he loves that the club did this for his dad.
“I think this is appropriate, because he was in charge of restocking the ponds,” he said. “I helped when I was little a couple of times. I hope to become a member of the club when I come back to the area, so I can keep the ponds restocked.”
Dansville McDonald’s manager Tina Peaty said that they are always willing to help out the community anyway they can.
“We have donated to all sorts of community events. It is all about being a good neighbor,” she said. “I worked with Christine a long time ago at McDonald’s and that is how I met Tim. He was the sweetest man. Tim loved the community, and he would do anything he could.”
Shortly after the loss of such a great friend the club came together to plan a way to honor him.
Dansville Fish and Game Club Treasurer Mike Beardsley said he was great friend of Tim.
“Tim got involved in our club to help stock the local ponds and streams with fish,” he said. “We have close to 500 members, and are one of the biggest clubs in town. We are the oldest one in the state.”
Dansville Fish and Game President Jim Bennett said Deer Pond was dug out last spring to remove all the stuff that had filled the pond over the years. Bennett mentioned that a new drain to control the level of the pond was installed at that time.
“By August the pond was ready for fishing, and the club purchased several hundred bass, bullheads, and bluegills. Several pounds of fat minnows were dumped into the pond as well,” he said. “The fish are fed twice a day by members Ken Hynes and Dan Amico. Ken recovered about 400 bass and bluegills that swept away in the neighbors pond during the process.”
The Dansville Fish and Game Club was formed in 1875 and has been at this location since 1945.
“The club sends eight to 10 children annually to Conservation Camps each summer. The club sponsors the local boy scouts, cub scouts, and girl scouts at the facility as well,” Bennett said. “There have been hunter training, archery training, and trapper training classes at the club since it began at Deer Park.”
Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Dansville Fish and Game Club can come to the meeting on June 13 at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. on Gibson Street.