As most of you know Hugh Bartrug has died in N.C. Oct.25 with my mother by his side as usual. Its very quiet down here now that he is gone, but Im sure not forgotten. I would like to take the time to thank everyone who cared about my mum and dad, and who have sent cards or called my mum through this lonely cold winter for her. He left us just as he was, under control, didnt say anything unless he meant it and still knew more about knives and life than most of us will ever achieve. Even though he was in the nursing home, he still read everything everyday, mostly about art, knives and all the plans he was gonna do after he got better.He always talked about the people he knew and the people up and coming that he wanted to talk to about damascus, and knives.He respected the makers, as he knew first hand it is probably the hardest and not recognized art form still alive, because of people like you, mum was able to make it through their 55 anniversary a few days after his death and she now she faces Christmas, and a whole new year without her best friend.As dad always said, behind any successful man, there is a woman telling him what to do. Mum is a strong person, and had a lot to do with the job dad did. Many times I lost both of them all day, and I mean knife makers days 18 hours a day, to the forge. My fondest memories were listening to the hammer on steel constantly. Now his hammer is quiet and mum is left with his memory.I hope dad changed lives for some of you.I hope you keep him in your memories on Christmas,2 months exactly.I cannot forget him, as I am Ashleys mum.If not for watching my mum and dad struggle all the time, I would have never learned so much about trust, a persons good name, dont burn your bridges, and mostly,,,,dont ever lie, cheat or steal and you will get through anything o.k. I think that one dad learned from mum as we all did but never gave her much glory. All she needed was to sit back and watch her hero, while helping in the shadows.This Christmas, poor ,rich, hero, strugglers to be heros, take time to kiss your family. Dad and mum were heros, but that was in the family way. Mum always came last as she insisted, but all of us know she was the hammer and he the fire and together they made some beautiful knives and children who are proud to say they are our parents.Again, thank you so much for being a part of the family, they always talked like so many makers were related to us, sometimes I thought they were and like the close knife world, I guess they are. Thanks for going on when things get tough.If we all just learn that from them, then we are heros too.God bless America and all of you artists, who make the world a beautiful place, just by your personalities and love of each other and the hard work that goes into each piece you make.God
bless you and remember, kiss your family this year and remember what its all about, what the hard work is for,, your families, all of them,even in the knife world, not the magazines. And again, thank you for loving mum and continueing on when the work gets hard.Dad will probably be ready for you when you join him, so dont think about retirement, he still has a lot of plans to share with you. Ashleys mum, Joycie Bartrug Banks